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What does “agency” mean in real estate? Is a rental agent an agent of the renter, or of the landlord?

An “agent” is someone who you hire to work on your behalf.

An agency relationship is determined by written agreement, not by who pays compensation. So a rental agent is an agent of the landlord, not of the renter — even if the renter’s paying!

Why does this matter? Because you as a shopper want to know how much the agent is on “your side.” A good real estate agent will explain this concept to you — and what you can expect in terms of confidentiality, disclosure, etc. — at an early substantial contact, perhaps over coffee.

But if the agent doesn’t, remember this metaphor from Bill my real estate teacher: “When you walk into Barney’s and ask for a suit, the salesperson really wants to help you, but they still work for Barney’s.”

Posted in For renters 11 years, 9 months ago at 10:45 am.

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