Unless and until there is a written Buyer-Broker Agency Agreement signed with a prospective Buyer, then Ben Frederick Realty, Inc. (BFR), Ben Frederick Realty, Inc. represents the Seller. (“seller” includes “landlord” and “buyer” includes “tenant”, and “purchase” or “sale” includes “lease”)
While BFR represents the Seller, the following requirements apply to BFR and its agents, partners, and employees:
- We are obligated by law to treat all parties to a real estate transaction honestly and fairly.
- We must exercise reasonable care and diligence and maintain the confidentiality of clients.
- We must offer properties and services without regard to a person’s race, religion, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, family status, marital status, handicap, age, or source of income.
- We promptly present each written offer or counteroffer to the other party;
- We must answer questions truthfully.
- Real estate agents must disclose all material facts that they know or should know relating to a property. An agent’s duty to maintain confidentiality does not apply to the disclosure of material facts about a property.
- All agreements with real estate brokers and agents must be in writing and explain the duties and obligations of both the broker and the agent. The agreement must explain how the broker and agent will be paid and any fee-sharing agreements with other brokers.
- Buyers and Sellers have the responsibility to protect their own interests and are advised to carefully read all agreements to make sure they accurately reflect your understanding.
- A real estate licensee is qualified to advise you on real estate matters only. If you need legal or tax advice, it is your responsibility to consult a licensed attorney or accountant.
Any complaints about a real estate licensee may be filed with the Real Estate Commission at 500 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. (410) 230-6230.
Understand the Three Types of Agency Available in Maryland:
Agents Who Represent the Seller
- Seller’s Agent: A seller’s agent works for the real estate company that lists and markets the property for the sellers and exclusively represents the sellers. A seller’s agent may assist the buyer in purchasing the property, but his or her duty of loyalty is only to the seller.
- Subagent: A Subagent means a licensed real estate broker, licensed associate real estate broker, or licensed real estate salesperson who is not affiliated with or acting as the listing real estate broker for a property, is not a buyer’s agent, has a brokerage relationship with the seller, and assists a prospective buyer in the acquisition of real estate for sale in a non-brokerage relationship capacity. The subagent works for a real estate company different from the company for which the seller’s agent works. The subagent can assist a buyer in purchasing a property, but his or her duty of loyalty is only to the seller.
If you are viewing a property and you have not signed a Brokerage Agreement, that agent represents the seller.
Agents Who Represent the Buyer
- Buyer’s Agent: A buyer may enter into a written contract with a real estate broker which provides that the broker will represent the buyer in locating a property to buy. The agent from that broker’s company is then known as the buyer’s agent. The buyer’s agent assists the buyer in evaluating properties and preparing offers and developing negotiation strategies and works in the best interest of the buyer. The agent’s fee is paid according to the written agreement between the broker and the buyer. If you as a buyer wish to have an agent represent you, you must enter into a written brokerage agreement.
The possibility of dual agency arises when the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent both work for the same real estate company, and the buyer is interested in property listed by that company. The real estate broker or the broker’s designee, is called the “dual agent.” Dual agents do not act exclusively in the interests of either the seller or buyer, and therefore cannot give undivided loyalty to either party. There may be a conflict of interest because the interests of the seller and buyer may be different or adverse.
If both seller and buyer agree to dual agency by signing a Consent For Dual Agency form, the “dual agent” (the broker or the broker’s designee) shall assign one agent to represent the seller (the seller’s “intra-company agent”) and another agent to represent the buyer (the buyer’s “intra-company agent”). Intra-company agents are required to provide the same services to their clients that agents provide in transactions not involving dual agency, including advising their clients as to price and negotiation strategies.
If either party does not agree to dual agency, the real estate company must withdraw the brokerage agreement for that particular property with either the buyer or seller, or both. If the seller’s agreement is terminated, the seller must then either represent him or herself or arrange to be represented by an agent from another real estate broker/company. If the brokerage agreement is terminated, the buyer may choose to enter into a written brokerage agreement with a different broker/company. Alternatively, the buyer may choose not to be represented but simply to receive assistance from the seller’s agent, from another agent in that company, or from a subagent from another company.