Many people exploring Hamptons real estate—and real estate across Long Island—are finding a buyer’s market. Last month, Bill Carroll of Hampton One Real Estate Group shared that the best way to take advantage of a buyer’s market is to work with a buyer’s agent—but how does a buyer know if the agent he/she is working with represents buyers or sellers?
The Answer from Bill Carroll at Hampton One Real Estate Group: In the Hamptons, the vast majority of agents work for the seller. That’s the norm. But buyers are entitled to representation as well. That’s the law.
According to the New York Department of State, every real estate agent is obligated to explain agency disclosure (who they represent) the very first time they meet a buyer or seller. At that first meeting, the agent will request the buyer or seller sign a disclosure form to acknowledge this explanation. If you are dealing with an agent who has not presented this form, it’s time to find a new agent.
The Question: Why is it important to know whom the agent represents?
The Answer from Bill Carroll at Hampton One Real Estate Group: Because in real estate, representation is everything. The law is very clear. Agents may only represent one party in the transaction. And that means undivided loyalty. An easy way for one to understand what representation means is to substitute the word “represent” with “work in the best interest of.” So instead of hearing “I represent the seller” a buyer should translate that to “I work in the best interest of the seller.” That makes the relationship crystal clear.
The Question: Can you elaborate on the different relationships between agents, clients and customers?
The Answer from Bill Carroll at Hampton One Real Estate Group: Yes. When you are working with a real estate agent, you are either their “client” or “customer.” An agent works with customers, but for clients. Clients, by fiduciary law, receive a much higher and devoted level of service.
If you are one’s customer, as a buyer would be to a seller’s agent, the agent simply has to disclose the material facts regarding the property and adhere to a few other basic responsibilities. The agent is working in the best interest of the seller—not the buyer.
If you are a client, as a buyer would be to a buyer’s agent, your leverage increases quite a bit. In this case, you would receive full fiduciary service, a list of duties that ensures the agent is working in the best interest of the client. This relationship favors you, the buyer.
To see a complete breakdown of agents’ responsibilities to customers, and duties to clients, read this blog.
Have questions about buyer’s agents or real estate in the Hamptons? You can contact Bill Carroll and Hampton One Real Estate Group, the only Exclusive Buyer Brokerage on the East End of Long Island, at (631) 241-8168 or by email at [email protected] You may even see your question answered right here at Ask the Expert!