Hatteras Island, NC Home Buyers
Questions and Answers on: WORKING WITH REAL ESTATE AGENTS
When buying or selling real estate, you may find it helpful to have a real estate agent assist you.
Real estate agents can provide many useful services and work with you in different ways. In
some real estate transactions, the agents work only for the seller. In other transactions, the
seller and buyer may each have their own agents. And sometimes the same agent or firm
works for both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. It is important for you to know
whether an agent is representing you as your agent or simply assisting you while acting as an
agent of the other party.
Do not share any confidential information with a real estate agent or assume that the agent is
acting on your behalf until you have entered into a written agreement with the agent to
represent you. Otherwise, the agent can share your confidential information with others and
this could hurt your ability to negotiate the best deal for yourself.
To assist buyers and sellers in understanding the roles of real estate agents, the Real Estate
Commission requires agents in sales transactions to (1) review a “Working With Real Estate
Agents Disclosure” with you at first substantial contact - before asking for or receiving your
confidential information and (2) give you a copy of the Disclosure form after you sign it. The
Disclosure form is for your education and protection and is not a contract.
This Q&A brochure assumes that you are a prospective buyer or seller and answers common
questions about the various types of agency relationships that may be available to you. It
should help you:
• decide which relationship you want to have with a real estate agent
• give you useful information about the various services real estate agents can provide
buyers and sellers
• explain how real estate agents are paid
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT RACIAL EQUALITY AND FAIR HOUSING: The Commission is committed to
the principles of excellence, fairness, and respect for all people. It is our goal to ensure that brokerage
activities are conducted in fairness to all and to end discrimination in the sale or rental of all real estate.
In residential sales and rental transactions, agents must comply with the Fair Housing Act which prohibits
discrimination on the basis of the race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or familial status of
any party or prospective party. For more information on the NC Fair Housing Act, you may visit
Q: What does the word, "agency," mean?
A: The relationship between a real estate agent and the buyer or seller who hires the agent is
referred to as an agency relationship, because the real estate agent acts on behalf of (i.e. as an
agent for) the buyer or seller (the “client”). In an agency relationship, the agent has certain
duties and responsibilities to their client.
Q: What is an agency agreement?
A: An agency agreement is a contract between you and a real estate firm that authorizes the
firm and its agents to represent you. The agency agreement between buyers and agents is
typically called a “Buyer Agency Agreement”; between sellers and agents, a “Listing
Agreement.” Be sure to read and understand the agency agreement before you sign it. If you do
not understand it, ask the agent to explain it. If you still do not understand, you may want to
consult an attorney before signing the agreement. Your agent must give you a copy of the
agreement after you sign it.
Q: Is there a "standard" length of time for agency agreements?
A: No. The term or length of an agency agreement is negotiable. Real estate agents are allowed
to determine their own policies for the lengths of their agency agreements. However, a
prospective buyer or seller may request a different length of time than proposed by an agent. If
an agreement cannot be reached with the agent, the buyer or seller may seek another real
estate agent willing to agree to a different length of time. Every agency agreement must have a
definite expiration date.
Q: Is there a "standard" fee for real estate agents?
A: No. The amount or percentage of an agent's compensation is negotiable. Real estate agents
are allowed to determine their own compensation policies. However, a prospective buyer or
seller may request a different fee. If an agreement cannot be reached with the agent, the buyer
or seller may seek another real estate agent willing to agree to a different fee.