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  • Real Estate - RE Agent

    By Cynthia Waddell, Full-Time Faculty, Kaplan University

    Choosing a Real Estate Agent–Part 1 told you a little about the benefits of hiring a real estate salesperson to assist you in your real estate transactions. Also important in your choice of agent is to an understanding of the various types of real estate agents. 

    I held a real estate salesperson’s license for 5 years, and the distinction between types of real estate agents was a very important concept which was covered every year during our required continuing education training.

    As the name implies, a real estate agent has an agency relationship with the buyer or seller. This means they have certain fiduciary duties, depending on their role as real estate agent. A real estate agent can act as one of three types:    

    • Buyer’s agent
    • Seller's agent
    • Dual agent

    A buyer’s agent is a real estate salesperson whose clients are potential purchasers of properties and this agent represents the buyer only. A seller’s agent is a real estate salesperson that “lists” homes for sale. This agent’s fiduciary duty is to the seller only.

    The third type of agent, the dual agent, represents both the buyer and the seller. Dual agency may pose potential conflicts of interest. For this reason, dual agency is illegal in some states. Dual agency can be one of two types. The first type of dual agent, and the situation that may pose the greatest risk of conflict of interest, exists when the agent represents both the buyer and the seller. Here, the agent sells a property he or she has listed to a buyer who is not represented by another agent. The second type of dual agency exists when the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent work out of the same broker’s office. Agents must disclose dual agency situations to their clients.

    Real estate agents provide many benefits and services in completing real estate transactions, and a good understanding of the agent’s fiduciary duties to their clients is essential.

    Cynthia Waddell is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University. 

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