Texas law requires that real estate license holders give prospective buyers, tenants, sellers and landlords an Information About Brokerage Services form at the first substantive communication with buyer, tenant, seller or landlord. This could be the first face-to-face or in an email correspondence. A seller or landlord usually receives and signs this form along with the written listing agreement when placing a property on the market for sale or lease.
But what about the tenant/buyer customer? And when does a tenant/buyer go from customer to client?
"AS AGENT FOR BUYER/TENANT: The broker becomes the buyer/tenant's agent by agreeing to represent the buyer usually through a written representation agreement. A buyer's agent must perform the broker's minimum duties and must inform the buyer of any material information about the property or transaction known by the agent, including information disclosed to the agent by the seller or seller's agent."
Why is it important to get an agreement in writing? Having a Buyer/Tenant Representative Agreement in writing informs all parties what is expected from the other parties.
Why is it important to have Buyer/Tenant representation? If there is not a written, specific agreement stating that the broker/agent is working specifically on the behalf of the buyer/tenant, the representation could get misunderstood. Without an agreement, a buyer is a customer, not a client.
An example of this would be a buyer calling on a property sign or advertisement for a listing to gain more information or even possibly making an offer on a property. Unless that agent or even an agent in that firm has an agreement to represent the buyer (this could be an intermediary relationship), they are working for the SELLER as a subagent. A licenseholder acts as a subagent when aiding a buyer in a transaction without an agreement to represent the buyer. A subagent can assist the buyer but does not represent the buyer and must place the interests of the owner FIRST. If the potential buyer told the seller's agent or subagent they were so in love with the property they would pay a specified amount but wanted to start lower, the seller's agent or subagent is obligated to inform the seller of the entire conversation. As a buyer's representative, that agent would have the obligation to keep the buyer's intentions between the buyer without an obligation to tell the seller. A buyer has more negotiating power if they have representation. If a buyer uses a listing agent to negotiate their contract, that would most likely construe a broker/customer relationship, because ultimately the seller's agent has an obligation to relay all disclosed information to the seller, including but not limited to financial information gained from the buyer.
Most buyer's agents receive their compensation from the listing Broker as designated in the signed listing agreement and stated on the purchase contract, so why not have a professional represent the buyer at no cost to the buyer?
(This is not intended to be legal advice - please consult your attorney with specific legal questions.)
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