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. 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 buyers agent does – find someone to buy their home. The point is no one can represent you and a buyer 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 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 does not have an exclusive agent. As an Intermediary, the law requires agents to treat all parties impartially and fairly and not disclose confidential information. We 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 assigned to help an unrepresented buyer. Sub-agents may help, although solely represent the seller as their fiduciary.  Some clear disadvantages exist for the buyer under sub-agency. There is no obligation to get the best price or terms for the buyer, since the broker, as sub-agent, is obligated to get 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 his role and duties clear to the Buyer to avoid any confusion. Many states, notably Florida and Colorado, have abolished sub-agency.

Notice: This website contains general information about legal and financial matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal or financial advice from your attorney, accountant or other professional services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal and financial matter you should consult your attorney, accountant or other professional services provider.