Working With a Real Estate Agent
If you’re looking to sell or buy a home, you’ll probably work with a real estate agent. Most sellers and buyers do. Before you sign a contract with an agent, here are some things you should know.
Agents are licensed professionals. Under Michigan law, your agent owes you some basic duties, such as:
- Using reasonable skill and care in working with you.
- Being loyal to your interests.
- Keeping your information confidential – unless you say it’s OK to disclose it.
- Referring you to other professionals for matters beyond the agent’s expertise.
Regarding the last duty, remember that agents aren’t experts in real estate law. It’s always a good idea to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer.
If you’re selling a home, your agent will help you market it. And, whether you’re selling or buying, your agent will normally:
- Accept and present offers and counter-offers.
- Assist in negotiations.
- Help to complete the deal.
- Prepare a closing statement that contains all the dollar figures.
But you and your agent can also agree in writing that the agent will provide only limited services.
There are three types of agent relationships. A seller’s agent, under a listing agreement with a seller, acts solely for the seller. A buyer’s agent, under a buyer’s agency agreement, acts solely for the buyer. Finally, an agent can be a dual agent – but only if the seller and buyer consent in writing. There are legal restrictions on the information a dual agent can share with the seller and buyer.
The attorneys at the Ann Arbor law firm of Hamilton, London, & Davis can provide legal advice if you’re selling or buying a home.