Most consumers believe that real estate agents are working on their behalf, but that’s not always the case, according to a new report from the Consumer Federation of America.
“Today, many homebuyers and sellers do not know whether their agent is representing their interests, those of the other party or those of neither,” the report’s author, CFA senior fellow Stephen Brobeck, says in a statement. “Given the huge expenditure of a home purchase and the conflict of financial interests between seller and buyer, it is important that consumers know who their real estate agent is actually representing.”
As The Houston Chronicle reports, Brobeck cites a scenario where a home shopper calls a listing agent to inquire about a house. During that discussion, the agent may be tempted to obtain information from the would-be buyer, such as how much money they have to spend on a house. That could lead to the seller paying more than he or she might otherwise.
The report also found that many consumers don’t understand the different roles of real estate professionals, including agent, subagent, transactional agent and designated agent.