Real estate professionals are licensed by regulators in the state where they practice. A candidate must be sponsored by a licensed real estate broker, take state-approved training, pass the licensing test, and then join the sponsoring broker’s firm as a salesperson and agent of the broker.
State licensing laws allow certain types of representation in fairness to consumers. Some agents act as fiduciaries for their clients which means they owe loyalty to the one who hired them, but in that case, they also owe honesty and fairness to other parties in the transaction. Other agents act as facilitators which means they can work with both parties in the transaction honestly and fairly but they can’t show favoritism to either side.
A seller's agent, also called a listing agent, has signed representation and listing agreements with the seller. The agent can show the seller’s home to buyers, but can’t share confidential information from the seller to move the sale along. A buyer’s agent works the same way with the buyer and can’t disclose confidential information to the seller.
Buyers and sellers can use the same agent under dual agency, but both parties must sign a consent form. Dual agency is common when a listing agent finds a buyer for the seller’s home. If both parties want fiduciary-level service, the real estate broker can assign a different agent to assist the buyer.
Contact your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network agent for more information about the levels of service they offer.