What is intermediary representation and what is a sub-agent?


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When representing a seller, our real primary role is to market your home to other brokers, agents, and their buyers to get you the best possible deal. Marketing to and procuring unrepresented buyers for your home is a conflict of interest with you and other brokers and agents. Mistakenly, many homeowners expect their listing agent to do the same things that a selling agent does – find someone to buy their home. The point is no one can represent you and a buyer fairly and impartially at the same time.

Even with the biggest brokers, it is a rarity for this reason. When looking at historical sales, 99% of the time the selling agent exclusively represents the buyer and is with another broker. Listing agents do want leads from unrepresented buyers for your home, just not to buy your home. Most typically we do not represent both sides of a transaction and act only as the seller’s or buyer’s sole representative. 

Intermediary Representation is when a seller authorizes us in writing to act as an “Intermediary” agent for both parties and the buyer will not have an exclusive agent. As an Intermediary, law requires agents to treat all parties impartially and fairly and not disclose confidential information. We will assume this role for a seller in very special situations and become an intermediary. Sub-agents are agents of the listing broker other than the listing agent and are assigned by the listing broker to help an unrepresented buyer. Sub-agents solely represent the seller as their fiduciary. 

Some clear disadvantages exist for the buyer under sub-agency. There is no obligation to obtain the best price or terms for the buyer, since the broker, as sub-agent, was obligated to obtain the best terms for the seller, generally someone whom the sub-agent had never met and with whom no direct business relationship existed. It is important the sub-agent makes it clear to the Buyer what his role is to avoid any confusion. Many states, notably Florida and Colorado, have abolished sub-agency.


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