|Relationship disclosure: What to
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI
first we knew that the salesperson showing our home was working for the buyer
was when he brought us an offer. Shouldn't this have occurred earlier?
amount and type of disclosure regarding who represents whom is determined by
each state's licensing laws in tandem with state laws that apply. But most
states, and licensees in those states, take the "earlier is better than
later" approach to agency disclosure. This has come about by consumers such
as yourself who want to know not only who represents them but who represents the
other players in the transaction as well.
Many states require that the buyer's agent specify (usually
at first contact with the listing agent, the listing agent's office and/or the
seller) if he or she is representing someone other than the seller. At that
point, if the seller has not agreed to work with agents representing buyers,
that agent can be so informed. (This very rarely happens today since buyer's
agents comprise a large part of many marketplaces and therefore contribute to a
high percentage of successful sales.)
Buyer's agents are certainly not to be feared. The only
difference between them and the salesperson representing your interests is that
their allegiance is to their client -- the party that many sellers thought was
representing the buyer all along.