When you hire a real estate agent, it’s important to understand whose side she’s on as you select a home to buy, or list your current home for sale, and head towards closing, where the actual transfer of ownership happens. There are a lot of ways agents may represent clients. Yours might represent:
Only the other parties in the transaction
Everyone in the deal
By knowing where your agent’s loyalties lie, you’ll know what you can tell her and what you can’t. If, for example, you’re dealing with an agent who doesn’t represent you but is representing the sellers of a home you want to buy, you won’t want to tell her how high you’re willing to go on the price. In some states, your agent has to explain the type of representation she’s offering you and ask you to sign a contract identifying who the agent and her broker represent. If an agent doesn’t bring up the subject or ask you to sign a contract, ask about it so you know whom she’s representing.
No matter what form of representation you agree to, watch out for your own interests.