UNDERSTANDING AGENCY RELATIONSHIPS
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING A CUSTOMER AND A CLIENT
How are the two different?
In real estate transactions in North & South Carolina Real Estate Agents are required by State Licensure to provide certain degrees of service and loyalties. These difference are governed under the laws of Agency and require disclosure in North & South Carolina. It requires that Real Estate Agents provide you with the “Working with Real Estate Agents” disclosure which describes the various forms of Agency Relationships that exist in North & South Carolina.
While the terms Client & Customer could easily be interpreted to be the same. The differences under the Laws of Agency and how Real Estate Agents relate to you can be dramatically different when it comes to the loyalties obligated to you and the care and use of privileged information.
A Buyers Agent clients are entitled to a higher level of service, disclosure and loyalty than a Buyer’s Agent customers. Becoming a client involves signing a Buyer Representation Agreement with a licensed Real Estate Agent, who then owes you fiduciary duties. This means that your Buyers Agent is expected to exercise discretion when acting on your behalf, including adhering to very specific responsibilities, obligations, and a high standards of loyalty and good faith.
For example, if you’re a client, a Buyers Agent will attempt to negotiate the most favorable transaction terms for you—and is obligated to not disclose any material facts about your situation that could hurt your negotiating position. However, if you are only a customer, a buyer’s Agent may not be in a position to answer even basic questions, such as “Why are they selling?” or “Is this home priced competitively?” This is because they are acting instead as a sub-agent for the seller.
Real Estate Agents in NC & SC are required to disclose and explain Agency Relationships. If a Real Estate Agent presents you with a Buyers Representation Agreement this is not an Agreement that was created by the Real Estate Agent. This is a Standard Agreement used by all Real Estate Agents in North and South Carolina
YOUR SERVICES WILL VARY, DEPENDING ON YOUR STATUS.
|If you are a CUSTOMER
(no fiduciary relationship), an agent will:
|If you are a CLIENT
(fiduciary relationship), your agent will:
|Maintain loyalty to the seller’s needs||Pay full attention to your needs|
|Tell the seller all that they know about you||Tell you all that they know about the seller|
|Keep information about the seller confidential||Keep information about you confidential|
|Focus on the seller-client’s property||Focus on choices that satisfy your needs|
|Provide just the material facts||Provide material facts as well as professional advice|
|Only provide price information that supports
the seller’s listing price
|Provide price counseling based on comparable
properties and their professional insights
|Protect the seller||Protect and guide you|
|Negotiate on behalf of the seller||Negotiate on your behalf|
|Attempt to solve problems to the seller’s advantage and satisfaction||Attempt to solve problems to your advantage and satisfaction|