If the Austin real estate agent you are working with does not represent you, the agent represents the other party. The terms “working through” and “working with” do not have the same meaning as “working for.” Many Austin home buyers wrongly assume that working with an agent means the agent is working for them – protecting their best interests. Agents represent the person who hired them. So, if you did not hire the agent to represent you, the agent represents the other party. For example, the on-site sales agent at a new home development is hired to represent and act as the agent for Builder/Developer (seller).
Job of the Seller’s Agent
By creating that agency relationship, the seller or builder’s agent agrees to:
- Give their undivided loyalty to the Seller’s needs
- Inform the Seller of any information received from the buyer – including confidential info
- Negotiate on behalf of the Seller only…not the buyer
- Strive to strengthen the Seller’s bargaining position
- Solve problems and close the sale for the benefit of the Seller
Seller’s Agent Protects the Seller…ONLY
The Seller’s agent cannot give the buyer advice regarding the property, but can convey factual information, cannot offer an opinion of value unless it supports the Seller’s price, cannot provide price counseling or violate the confidentiality of the agency relationship created between the Builder/Developer and the real estate agent. Any suggestion made by the sales agent to the Buyer must be in the best interests of the Seller…not the Buyer.
Your Agent Represent Both Buyer and Seller?
Texas does not recognize “dual agency” because of the inherent conflict of interest. No man can serve two masters. However, the Texas legislator has created a “linking” relationship called “intermediary” which allows a Real Estate Broker to serve two clients as parties in the same transaction. However, taking that role requires explicit written permission from both Seller and Buyer, and once that relationship is established the Broker can no longer provide advice and counsel to either party. Editor’s note: Agents are hired and paid to provide advice and counsel to the clients. The “intermediary” is prohibited from doing so. Builders and Developers generally want no part of this hybrid creation…and I suggest you as the Buyer shouldn’t either.
Don’t Know Who Your Agent Represents? Ask!
If you’re not certain whether a broker represents you, proceed with caution. Ask the agent and Broker specifically: “Who do you represent?” Where do your loyalties and allegiances lie? Make sure that the Broker’s obligations are clearly spelled out in writing. Now ask yourself: “What kind of agency relationship will work best for you?”
Ready to Hire Your Own Agent to Help You Buy?
Our team of Buyer’s Specialists are uniquely qualified to represent you and only you in your next real estate transaction. We have over 50+ years of combined experience in all types of markets and price ranges. The best part about buyer representation? It costs the home buyer nothing! Buyer representation is paid by the seller and costs you nothing more than if you were working with the seller’s agent. Check out our Austin Home Buyers page and learn more about our program.