The situation with Agency–who a particular Agent represents–has changed quite a bit over the last few years. For decades, all Real Estate Agents automatically represented the seller in the transaction–even if they were working with a buyer. This gave sellers a sense of protection since the loyalties of all Agents that they came in contact with were with them.
Buyer Agency, which has become very popular in the last few years, has changed all that. In most areas a buyer can now have an Agent represent their interests, rather than those of the seller. What this means is that a Buyer’s Agent, representing their client, no longer has a loyalty to the seller. They must offer professionalism in all dealings, but their loyalty rests with the buyer. The Agent who lists the home (your Agent) will always still represent only the interests of you as the seller.
For a seller, this means that any information that they consider to be important to their bargaining position (for example the price that they “may take” for their house) can be revealed to their Agent, but never should be revealed to an Agent who represents a buyer who must relay any information they find to their buyer. This does not necessarily mean that there will be an adversarial relationship between the seller and the Buyer’s Agent–just that the seller needs to be aware of the need to protect their own interests. Your Agent can review all of the specifics of Agency as it relates to your own particular state, province or area.
Who Represents Who
SELLER AGENCY: The “default” situation. Unless disclosed to the contrary, all Agents involved in a Real Estate transaction (and their Brokers–with whom a listing agreement is actually with) represent, and owe their allegiance, to the seller.
BUYER AGENCY: When an Agent represents the buyer, that Agent “rejects” the implicit seller agency and thus owes loyalty to the buyer. For more information on this subject, see the section devoted to Buyer Agency.
DUAL AGENCY: This occurs when 2 Agents–or the same Agent–working for the same Broker each represent a buyer and a seller in a transaction. This situation must be disclosed to both the buyer and the seller. Privileged information (e.g. the price that a buyer will pay or a seller will sell at) cannot be disclosed to the other party without the express permission of the other party.