Why is there a buyer's and a seller's agent?

When a buyer or seller enters into a contract with a Realtor® that Realtor® is legally obligated to act in the best interest of their client. This is called “fiduciary responsibility.”

Contrary to popular belief, if you are a buyer but think it would benefit you to work directly with the listing agent (the seller’s agent), you are actually doing yourself a disservice because the listing agent’s fiduciary responsibility is to the seller and seller alone. This means it is the listing agent’s contractual obligation to get the best value for their seller at the expense of the buyer.

This is where the buyer’s agent comes in. The buyer’s agent’s fiduciary responsibility is to the buyer and the buyer alone. It is the buyer’s agent’s job to fight for their buyer, to negotiate and get the best value, and to be there throughout escrow to assist, oversee and guide their buyer throughout the process.

When it comes to paying a buyer’s agent, the commission has already been negotiated by the seller’s agent prior to putting the home on the market. The buyer’s and seller’s agents are both paid by the seller. If you are a buyer and decide not to hire an agent, the commission paid to the agents will still be included in the purchase price, but you simply will not have an agent representing you and your best interest. Needless to say, it is always best to have an agent representing YOU!