The duties of the agent are owed directly to the seller in all transactions where there is no buyer agent. The system worked well as long as the buyer was made aware that the agent represents the seller and that the buyer could not rely on the agent for assistance in determining an offering price that was other than asking price.
In real estate transactions, an agency relationship is formed between the broker and the client. The client generally works with one agent who is associated with a broker. The client typically has been the seller.
Recently, however, buyers have become aware that they may want an agent that represents only their interest ( as a Buyer's Agent ). When the real estate firm and its agents represent you, they must * promote your best interest * be loyal to you * follow your lawful instructions * provide you with all material facts that could influence your decisions * use reasonable skill, care and diligence * account for all moneys they handle for you. Agents have considerable knowledge, which previously had not been available to buyers and can be of great assistance in deciding what property to buy.
Although the traditional agent will work hard to find the perfect property for the buyer, the traditional agent has some limitations because of the duties owed to the seller. A buyer's agent does not work under those restrictions. For example, a buyer's agent can make the buyer aware of attractive purchasing strategies, which the seller may find acceptable even though they did not offer those terms initially.
Once you have agreed for a firm and its agents to be your Buyer's Agent they can not give out any confidential information without your permission. Until you have made this agreement avoid telling the agent anything you would not want a seller to know.
A real estate agent or firm may represent more than one party in the same transaction only with the knowledge and consent of all parties for whom the agent acts. "Dual Agency" is most likely to occur when a buyer represented by a buyer's agent wants to purchase a property listed by that agent's firm. A dual agent must carefully explain to each party that the agent and the agent's firm are also acting for the other party. In a dual agency situation, the agent must obtain a written agreement from the party that fully describes the obligations of the agent and agent's firm to each party. In this situation, when you agree to dual agency, the agent you have been working with becomes a sub-agent of the Seller's.