Who Should I Work With?

You should
understand from the beginning of your relationship with your real
estate agent what type of relationship exists. In most states, real
estate agents (both brokers and sales associates alike) are required
by law to let consumers know whether they represent the buyer or
the seller.

In the
past, real estate agents represented the seller exclusively, whether
the agent helped a seller to market and sell the home or helped
a buyer find and purchase the home. In other words, agents were
at one time legally bound to represent the seller in a residential
real estate transaction. In that same scenario, the seller paid
both the listing agent and the agent who brought the buyer.

However,
in today's real estate market, you may find that you can choose
between a wide variety of options for representation. If you want
to sell a home, you can work with a "seller's agent".
If you are purchasing a home, you can work with a subagent of the
seller's agent and, in many areas, you can engage an exclusive "buyer's
agent".

An additional
situation in some states is dual agency. This type of agency exists
when the buyer decides to have the seller's agent prepare the offer
on the buyer's behalf. A buyer who elects this situation, and all
additional parties to a transaction, should receive full disclosure
of representation. In some states, dual agency also affects the
real estate professional's fiduciary responsibilities to the seller.

Keep
in mind that real estate laws differ from state to state and even
from locale to locale. And within this framework of variety, laws
can change. For more in-depth answers for your specific situation,
talk with a knowledgeable real estate professional and ask about
local practices. Be sure that you understand and are comfortable
with the options involved when you engage the services of a real
estate agent.