Understanding Representation By An Exclusive Buyer Agent

Posted on: 22 January 2016

Are you looking to acquire a house and wondering where to begin? A real estate buyer's agent (such as one from Aus Property Professionals) is a good start. These buyers' agents may work for the buyers only or as dual agents where they work for both buyers and sellers of real estate property.  

An exclusive buyers' agent works on behalf of the buyers only. They do not work for the sellers of the property. The presence of an agent-principal relationship, in which case you are the principal, means that the agent owes you the fulfilment of fiduciary duties. These duties refer to the legal obligations owed to you by the agent where they have to act solely for the good of your interests. Therefore, the agent breaches the code of ethics in any case that they act for the good of their personal interests.

When dealing with exclusive buyers' agents, here are two ways you can acquire their representation: 

Representation through a written agreement

Beforehand, the agent has to inform you of all the provisions that underlie the agent-principal relationship between you and them. The agents should ensure that you understand the type of transaction that you are about to enter because your position as a buyer has different legal implications. You could be a leasehold buyer or freehold buyer.

If you are a leasehold buyer, you establish a tenant-landlord relationship with the seller of the property. You have the rights to use the property but it does not belong to you exclusively. On the other hand, freehold purchase allows you the full ownership of the property and the right to use it.

After making you understand the implications of the transaction you are about to enter, you sign a written agreement with the agent allowing him or her to represent you in the transaction. The agent offers the services at a fee indicated in the agreement. The agent will then assist you to prepare for offers from sellers, evaluate the property they are selling, and negotiate in your best interest.

Presumed representation by an agent

The moment you walk into a real estate exclusive buyers' agency, it is presumed that agent is representing you in your intended transaction. Since exclusive buyers' agents do not work for sellers, they do not list any properties offered by sellers in their firm. However, the presumption is that they represent you since you are consulting them over a certain transaction and they can inform you of any sale offer that they know, for your consideration.

Presumed agents may not prepare or negotiate an offer on your behalf. At the same time, you do not have an obligation to pay them until you agree to a certain offer and ascertain that you are willing to let them represent you in that transaction.     

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