Seller's agent, buyer's agent


Dear Mr. Gisriel:

What's the difference between a buyer's agent and a seller's agent? And what is dual agency?

Jeffrey Bowman Forest Hill Dear Mr. Bowman:

Maryland's law governing real estate disclose information took effect last year. The new law specifies requirements and the details of both disclosure and consent forms that are required on all sale and lease of real estate -- involving one to four single-family residential dwelling units.

The disclosure forms are available from the Maryland Real Estate Commission -- (410) 333-6230. The following definitions have become a part of the new real estate law:

Buyer's agent: A licensed real estate salesperson or broker who represents only the prospective buyer or renter.

Seller's agent: A licensed real estate salesperson or broker who represents only the seller or is affiliated with or acts as the listing broker for real estate and assists a prospective buyer or renter.

Dual agent: A licensed real estate salesperson or broker who acts as an agent for both the seller and buyer or landlord and renter in a real estate transaction.

Designated dual agent: Licensed real estate salespersons or a single broker who has been designated as the broker representing both buyer or seller, or landlord or renter.

Cooperating agent: A licensed real estate salesperson or broker not affiliated with the listing real estate broker who assists a prospective buyer or renter as subagent of the listing broker.

The disclosures must be made in writing at or before the first face-to-face meeting with the sellers or buyers, or landlords and renters. These written disclosures are intended to clarify to whom the real estate agent owes fiduciary responsibility, i.e., whose interests the agent represents. Because of the length and complexity of disclosure the new law requires, it will be tested in the marketplace by its operation.


Michael Gisriel is senior vice president of Fountainhead Title Group of Columbia and host of the weekly radio show "All About Real Estate" on WCBM from noon to 1 p.m. Sundays. Send questions to Michael Gisriel, c/o Mailbag, Real Estate Section, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

You can also leave questions on Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service. Call (410) 783-1800 and enter the code 6170 after you hear the greeting. For other Sundial numbers, see the SunSource notice on Page 2A.

Pub Date: 8/18/96

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