Often times when you as the buyer(s) are looking for a home on the internet or drive by one on the road, you get excited about the home you see. You’re so excited to get the information you want on the home, that you call the number on the listing or the sign. In most cases, this number you call on is the seller’s real estate agent‘s number.

Did you know there is more than just a seller’s real estate agent or agency? In North Carolina, there are buyer agency, dual agency and seller agency. Most listings on the internet and the signs in the yards are usually under dual agency and/or seller agency.

So let’s explain the difference between these types of agencies, so that, when you call you can ask what type of real estate agent status they are working as or who they work for?

Seller’s Real Estate Agent

A seller’s real estate agent works for someone who wants to sell real estate (i.e. home, land, commercial property, etc.). The seller’s real estate agent will bring them a “listing agreement” that grants permission for the real estate agent and the firm to represent them to the buyers. The sellers may be asked to allow other firms and real estate agents to help find a buyer for their property. Make sure if you’re a seller, you read and understand a listing agreement before you sign it.

Once a seller signs a “listing agreement,” the real estate agent and firm can no longer give confidential information to prospective buyers or their real estate agents without the seller’s permission.

Before you sign a “listing agreement,” do not tell the real estate agent anything you would not want a buyer to know. There are also duties, services and compensation, etc. that the real estate agent is to go over with the sellers before the signing of the “listing agreement.”

Dual Real Estate Agent

If you’re a seller, your real estate agent and its firm may ask you in their “listing agreement” if you will permit dual agency. I like to explain dual agency like the following: Dual agency is like an umbrella that represents the firm. The two people under the umbrella on each side of the handle are a seller’s real estate agent and a buyer’s real estate agent under the same firm. Therefore, dual agency is a firm that has the seller’s property and a buyer who in the same firm wants to buy the seller’s home listed with the same firm. The firm is representing both sellers and buyers.

Designated Real Estate Agent Now some firms have also what is called designated agency. Let’s take the analogy again of the umbrella representing the firm but now on the one side of the umbrella is the buyer’s real estate agent who will represent the buyer within the firm and the seller’s real estate agent will represent the seller within the firm. I always like to tell seller’s that I will represent them as a designated real estate agent if we end up in a dual agency relationship when it comes to a buyer wanting to buy their home.

Buyer’s Real Estate Agent

If you are a buyer, make sure your real estate agent works for you as the buyer’s real estate agent or at least a designated real estate agent if you are buying a home within the same firm as the house is listed.

Buyer real estate agents work strictly for the buyers and are limited on what information they can share with the selling real estate agent without the buyer’s sole permission. Buyer real estate agents also have duties, services, compensation, etc. that they are required to share with you before you sign the “buyer’s agency agreement.” This agreement gives the detailed information listed above. It also states what locals and the expiration date of the agreement.

Seller’s Real Estate Agent Working With Buyer

This is an real estate agent or firm who represents the seller but working with a buyer who does not want exclusive representation or if the firm does not offer exclusive buyer agency representation. Real estate agents are to tell you in writing before you request any information that they are working for the seller. So before you make that call or give your information, make sure you know who the real estate agent is working for.

*Note: This content is for informational purposes only. Wendy Twine is a real estate real estate agent for NC and makes no warranties and bears no liability for use of this information. The information is not intended, and should not be construed, as legal, tax or investment advice, or a legal opinion. Always contact your legal, tax and/or financial advisors to help answer questions about your business’s specific situation or needs prior to taking any action based upon this information.