Know Your Rights

 
Agency Disclosures:
 
     Before you disclose confidential information to a real estate licensee regarding a real estate transaction, you should understand what type of agency relationship you have with that licensee.
     As of January 1, 1994, Michigan law requires real estate licensees acting as agents of sellers or buyers of real property to advise the potential sellers or buyers with whom they work of the nature of their agency relationship.
     A broker or salesperson may function in any of the following capacities:
  • represents the seller as an authorized seller's agent or subagent;
  • represents the buyer as an authorized buyer's agent or subagent;
  • represents both the buyer and seller as a disclosed dual agent, authorized by both the seller and buyer; and/or
  • represents neither the seller nor buyer as an agent, but provides services authorized by the seller or buyer to complete a transaction as a transaction coordinator.
Seller's Agent:
 
     A seller's agent, under a listing agreement with the seller, acts solely on behalf of the seller. A seller can authorize a seller's agent to work with subagents, buyer's agents and/or transaction coordinators. A subagent of the seller is one who has agreed to work with the listing agent, and who, like the listing agent, acts solely on behalf of the seller. Seller's agents and their subagents will disclose to the seller any known information about the buyer which may be used to the benefit of the seller.
     The duties that seller's agents and subagents owe to the seller include:
  • promoting the best interests of the seller;
  • fully disclosing to the seller all facts that might affect or influence the seller's decision to accept an offer to purchase;
  • keeping confidential the seller's motivations for selling;
  • presenting all offers to the seller; and/or
  • disclosing to seller all information known to the seller's agent about the identity of all buyers and willingness of those buyers to complete the sale or to offer a higher price.
Buyer's Agent:
 
     A buyer's agent, under a buyer's agency agreement with the buyer, acts solely on behalf of the buyer. A subagent of the buyer is one who has agreed to work with the buyer's agent and who, like the buyer's agent, acts solely on behalf of the buyer. Buyer's agents and their subagents will disclose to the buyer any known information about the seller which may be used to benefit the buyer.
     The duties that buyer's agents and subagents owe to the buyer include:
  • promoting the best interest of the buyer;
  • fully disclosing to the buyer all facts that might affect or influence the buyer's decision to tender an offer to purchase;
  • keeping confidential the buyers motivation for buying;
  • presenting all offers on behalf of the buyer; and/or
  • disclosing to the buyer all information known to the buyer's agent about the willingness of the seller to complete the sale or to accept a lower price.
Dual Agents:
 
     A real estate licensee can be the agent of both the seller and the buyer in a transaction, but only with the knowledge and informed consent, in writing, of both the seller and the buyer. In such a dual agency situation, the licensee will not be able to disclose all known information to either the seller or the buyer. As a dual agent, the licensee will not be able to provide the full range of fiduciary duties to the seller or the buyer.
     The obligation of a dual agent are subject to any specific provisions set forth in any agreement between the dual agent, the seller and the buyer.
 
Transaction Coordinator:
 
     The transaction coordinator is a licensee who is not acting as an agent of either the seller or the buyer, yet is providing services to complete a real estate transaction.
     The transaction coordinator is not an agent for either party and therefore owes no fiduciary duty to either party. The transaction coordinator is not the advocate of either party and therefore has no obligation to negotiate for either party. The responsibilities of the transaction coordinator typically include:
  • providing access to and the showing of a property;
  • providing access to market information;
  • providing assistance in the preparation of a buy and sell agreement which reflects the terms of the parties' agreement;
  • presenting a buy and sell agreement and any subsequent counter offers; and/or
  • assisting all parties in undertaking all steps necessary to carry out the agreement, such as the execution of documents, the obtaining of financing, the obtaining inspections, etc.
Designated Agent:
 
     A buyer or seller with a designated agency agreement is represented only by agents specifically named in the agreement. Agents of the firm not named in the agreement do not represent the buyer or seller. The named designated agents act solely on the behalf of their clients and may only share confidential information about the clients with the agents' supervisory broker who is also named in the agreement. Other agents in the firm have no duties to the buyer or seller and may act solely on behalf of another party in the transaction.

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