Click the logo to return to the homepage
New Listings
Properties for Sale
Land Listings
Relocation services
Meet our Agents
Community Guide
Company Profile
Rentals
Schools
Kid's Corner

Area Info and County Mapping Info
Area Info and
County Mapping Links


Going Green


 
Frequently Asked Questions

Who Real Estate Agents Represent

When buying or selling real property, you may find it helpful to obtain the assistance of a real estate agent. Real estate agents (brokers and salesmen) are licensed and regulated by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission.

In today's real estate market, agents can work with you in many ways.

You may choose to work with the one who will represent only you. Or one who will represent only the other party in the transaction. Or an agent who will represent both you and the other party(ies).

If you choose to have an agent represent you, the agent must promote your best interests. Your agent must also be loyal to you and follow your lawful instructions; exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence; account for all funds he handles for you; and disclose any information to you which could influence your decision in the transaction.

Before a real estate agent can represent you, the agent must have you sign a written "agency agreement" — typically a "listing contract," "buyer agency contract," or "dual agency contract." Real estate agents must disclose to buyers and sellers whom they represent.

The following information will introduce you to the various agency relationships you may encounter in real estate transactions and answer some of your agency questions.  Click on a question or continue to scroll down the page to see all questions and answers.


SELLER
  1. As a seller, who represents me?
  2. As a seller, what should my agent do for me?
  3. How is a seller's agent compensated?
  4. As a seller, how will I know if the agent working with the buyer is his agent or mine?
BUYER
  1. As a buyer, who represents me?
  2. As a buyer, what should my agent do for me?
  3. As a buyer, if I contact an agent by phone, will he or she automatically represent me?
  4. If I go to an "open house," what kind of agency relationship will be created with the agent on duty there?
  5. As a buyer, if I choose not to have an agent represent me, what can the seller's agent do for me?
  6. How are buyer's agents compensated?
FOR BUYERS & SELLERS
  1. Can an agent represent a buyer and seller at the same time?
  2. When will dual agency occur?
  3. As a buyer, if I work with a seller's agent in finding property and then decide to buy something listed by his firm, will the firm and its agents be dual agents?
  4. How can a dual agent be loyal to both buyer and seller?
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
  1. How long does an agency relationship last?
  2. Once an agency relationship ends, will my former agent still keep my confidences?
  3. Can I use more than one agent at the same time?
  4. Can an agent stop representing me in the middle of a transaction and start representing the other side?
  5. Are the laws and rules governing agency agreements and disclosure the same for residential and commercial property?

FOR THE SELLER

As a seller, who represents me?

The real estate firm with whom you list your property for sale and its agents represent you.  In addition, you may authorize the listing firm to allow agents with other firms (subagents) to show your property and represent you.
Return to Questions


As a seller, what should my agent do for me?

Among other things, your agent should provide you with an analysis of your property and market it. The listing agency may also represent the seller and the buyer in the role of a dual agent.  Your agent will explain dual agency to you and give you written information regarding agency.
Return to Questions


How is a seller's agent compensated?

The seller typically pays the listing firm a brokerage fee or sales commission as agreed upon in the listing contract. The commission is usually a percentage of the selling price. The firm then pays a portion of its commission to the individual agents involved in the sale (including seller's subagents associated with other firms). In addition, the listing agent may sometimes (with the seller's permission) pay part of the commission to the buyer's agent.
Return to Questions


As a seller, how will I know if the agent working with the buyer is his agent or mine?

An agent working for a buyer must tell you or your agent that he is a buyer's agent at his initial contact with you. And if his principal (the buyer) makes an offer to purchase your property, he must state again in the offer or in some other written statement that he represents the buyer.
Return to Questions


FOR THE BUYER

As a buyer, who represents me?

An agent may agree in writing to represent you as your "buyer's agent." If you are instead working with an agent of the seller, then no one represents you in the transaction. However, the seller's agent must still be fair and honest to you and report to you any material facts about the property itself (leaky basement, broken furnace, etc.), or that relate directly to the property (pending zoning changes or the planned widening of an adjacent street), or that relate directly to the seller's ability to complete the transaction (a pending foreclosure, etc.).
Return to Questions


 
As a buyer, what should my agent do for me?

Your agent should assist you in determining what price you can afford and help you locate property that suits your needs. The buyer's agent should also provide you with all relevant information about the property, help arrange for inspections and financing, assist you in bargaining for the lowest price and best terms possible, and promote your best interests.
Return to Questions


 
As a buyer, if I contact an agent by phone, will he or she automatically represent me?

No. Consequently, you should avoid disclosing any personal, financial or other confidential information during an initial telephone call to a real estate agent. Real estate brokers and salespeople, on the other hand, can provide you with information about themselves or available properties even before any agency (or non-agency) relationship is established. Whether talking by telephone or in person, you and the agent should agree at your first substantial contact whether the agent will represent you. If the agent will be representing you, he will ask you to sign a buyer agency agreement. If not, he will ask you to sign a "Disclosure to Buyer from Seller's Agent or Subagent" form advising you that he represents the seller — not you.
Return to Questions


 
If I go to an "open house," what kind of agency relationship will be created with the agent on duty there?

Generally none. Open houses are typically conducted by agents of the seller. Therefore, before you begin any serious discussions with the person(s) on duty about purchasing the house, he should ask you to sign a "Disclosure to Buyer from Seller's Agent or Subagent" form advising you that he represents the seller.
Return to Questions


 
As a buyer, if I choose not to have an agent represent me, what can the seller's agent do for me?

The seller's agent can provide you with information about properties and the areas where they're located. He can also assist you in obtaining financing and inspections, provide information about dosing procedures, and other things. However, you should always remember that he represents the seller — not you! Therefore, you should never disclose any private or financial information to the agent that you would not want the seller to know.
Return to Questions


 
How are buyer's agents compensated?

A buyer's agent can be compensated in different ways, depending upon the method agreed upon in the buyer agency contract. As a buyer, you can pay the agent out of your own pocket, or the agent could agree to seek a portion of the listing agent's commission. Often, the buyer's agent will agree to seek compensation from the listing agent and seller first, but require payment from you if they refuse. The buyer's agent may also require a non-refundable retainer fee. As a buyer, you should read the buyer agency agreement carefully to determine what financial obligation, if any, you have to the agent.
Return to Questions


For Buyers and Sellers:

Can an agent represent a buyer and seller at the same time?

Yes. An agent or firm may become a "dual agent" and represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. However, the buyer and the seller must consent to this arrangement in either a "Dual Agency Addendum" at the time they enter into the listing or buyer agency agreement, or in a separate dual agency agreement.
Return to Questions


When will dual agency occur?

Dual agency most often occurs when a buyer who is being represented by a real estate firm becomes interested in a property listed with the firm.
Return to Questions


As a buyer, if I work with a seller's agent in finding property and then decide to buy something listed by his firm, will the firm and its agents be dual agents?

No. Since the agent and his firm were not representing you before, they won't begin representing you simply because you choose to buy one of their listings. Rather, the firm and its agents will continue to represent only the seller.
Return to Questions


How can a dual agent be loyal to both buyer and seller?

In practical terms, it may be difficult for one agent or firm to advance the interests of both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. After all, the seller wants the highest price and best terms possible, while the buyer wants the lowest price and best terms possible. Nevertheless, the dual agent must be fair to both sides and treat each as if he were his only client. The dual agent must disclose to each party any information he learns from the other, with one exception: A dual agent will not reveal to a buyer the lowest price the seller will accept, or to a seller, the maximum price a buyer is willing to pay. Since the agent's loyalty is divided between parties with conflicting interests, it is especially important that any dual agency agreement be in writing and specifically describe the rights and duties of the parties.
Return to Questions


For Your Information

How long does an agency relationship last?

An agency relationship lasts for the time period specified in the agency contract or until the client's purpose is accomplished (i.e., the sale or purchase of a property), whichever occurs first.
Return to Questions


Once an agency relationship ends, will my former agent still keep my confidences?

Not necessarily. An agent should never disclose personal information without good reason.  However, should your former agent later represent another party in a transaction with you, he will have a duty to disclose to his new client any information that could make a difference to that client or influence his decision to buy or sell. For example, if an agent who formerly represented you is now working with a buyer who is interested in purchasing your property, the agent must disclose to the buyer material facts he knows about you that would help the buyer in the transaction.
Return to Questions


Can I use more than one agent at the same time?

Maybe. It will depend on the type of agreement you sign with your listing agent or buyer's agent. If you sign an "exclusive" listing or buyer agency contract, you should avoid contracting with another agent. If you want to contract with more than one agent, you should contact an attorney first for advice.
Return to Questions


Can an agent stop representing me in the middle of a transaction and start representing the other side?

Not without your permission.
Return to Questions


Are the laws and rules governing agency agreements and disclosure the same for residential and commercial property?
Yes. They apply equally to agents involved in residential and commercial real estate transactions.
Return to Questions


Services | Relocation | Local Links | Map | FAQ
Home Buying Tips | Mortgage Shopping | Home Inspections | New Construction
Contractors | Economic Development | Education | Churches | Civic Groups
©2002-2008 Carolina Realty of Wilkes, Inc.,  All Rights Reserved.
American Hoe Warranty

Read the
Liviability Magazine
Foreclosures
& Short Sales