Buyer's Agent vs. Seller's Agent What Are The Differences?
WHAT IS A BUYER’S AGENT?
In Wisconsin, a real estate buyer can choose to work with either a selling agent (sometimes also referred to as a sub-agent or a co-broker agent) or a buyer’s agent. Either way, your agent is a specially trained professional, licensed by the state of Wisconsin, who is obligated by law to treat all parties to a real estate transaction fairly. To understand how a buyer’s agent is different from a selling agent, you must first understand how they are alike.
As a real estate buyer, what type of fair treatment can I expect from all real estate agents?
ALL REAL ESTATE AGENTS OWE THE FOLLOWING DUTIES TO BOTH BUYERS AND SELLERS:
- FAIR AND HONEST TREATMENT
- DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL ADVERSE FACTS
- PROVISION OF ACCURATE MARKET CONDITION INFORMATION
- REASONABLE SKILL AND CARE
- OBJECTIVE PRESENTATION OF OFFERS
HOW ARE SELLING AGENTS DIFFERENT?
The first thing to remember is that Wisconsin law does not allow real estate agents to be adversarial for or against the seller or the buyer. They are legally required to treat all parties fairly.If you work with a selling agent, there is no contract between you and the agent, and you are not the agent’s principal. You will, however, receive a Disclosure of Real Estate Agency form that lists the fair treatment duties owed by all agents to all parties, and which indicates that the selling agent is an owner’s agent. The selling agent will show you properties you are interested in seeing, get more information about properties of interest, and draft the purchase contract as you direct. The selling agent must provide you with information about any known or potential property defects and help identify those situations where you should consult with a professional, such as a home inspector or building contractor to help you evaluate a property condition, or an attorney or accountant to advise you on legal or tax matters.
HOW ARE BUYER’S AGENTS DIFFERENT?
If you work with a buyer’s agent, you and the buyer’s agent sign a WB-36 Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement that includes a Disclosure of Real Estate Agency. This Disclosure lists the fair treatment duties owed by all agents to all as well as the duties owed to you as a principal client. The buyer’s agent receives a fee when he or she successfully helps you find a property and negotiate a purchase contract in accordance with your buyer agency agreement. A buyer’s agent owes you the fair treatment duties owed to all parties plus the higher level of agent-client fiduciary duties including loyalty, disclosure, and obedience.
What fiduciary duties does a buyer’s agent owe to me in addition to the fair treatment duties owed to all parties?
BUYER’S AGENTS OWE THE FOLLOWING FIDUCIARY DUTIES:
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF WORKING WITH A BUYER’S AGENT?
Despite what some people may think, being a buyer’s agent doesn’t mean that he or she will force the seller into submission. The buyer’s agent works for the interests of the buyer but also must know how to work with the listing agent so that the seller sells and the buyer buys. Acting in an adversarial way is not the most effective way to represent a buyer.
ONLY A BUYER’S AGENT CAN:
- GIVE A NEGATIVE OPINION OR CRITIQUE OF A SELLER’S PROPERTY BEYOND DISCLOSING DEFECTS.
- RECOMMEND OR SUGGEST AN OFFERING PRICE OR GIVE YOU AN OPINION ABOUT WHETHER A PARTICULAR HOUSE IS PRICED TOO HIGH OR TOO LOW.
- STRUCTURE THE OFFER AND DRAFT OFFER PROVISIONS WITH THE BUYER’S BEST INTEREST IN MIND.
- RECOMMEND AND ASSIST THE BUYER WITH NEGOTIATION STRATEGIES FOR THE BEST PRICE AND TERMS.
- DISCLOSE ALL INFORMATION AND RESEARCH ABOUT A PROPERTY’S HISTORY AND LIENS SO THE BUYER CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION. THE LEVEL OF ADDITIONAL
- INVESTIGATION AND RESEARCH THAT A BUYER’S AGENT MAY DO FOR A BUYER MAY VARY FROM AGENT TO AGENT.
- GIVE ADVICE WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE AGENT’S EXPERTISE AS A LICENSED REAL ESTATE AGENT.