WHO IS WORKING FOR WHOM?
In real estate today, each Realtor in a transaction is required to clearly disclose for whom they are working as agent. Common practice now is that the listing Realtor is agent for the Seller and the Realtor who writes the offer with the Buyers is working for the Buyers. Each offer to purchase declares this agency.
Regardless of the declaration, in the vast majority of sales the Seller's Realtor and the Buyer's Realtor split the commission paid by the Seller. The Buyer does not pay a commission to their agent.
Because of this, Buyers can now engage a Realtor to act on their behalf. This is done with the use of a Buyer's Agency Agreement. The agreement states that the Buyers agree to work solely with the Realtor and the Realtor will earn his commission through the selling commission. With this assurance the Realtor will apply himself to search out appropriate listings, show the Buyer the properties, advise them on the home's positive and negative issues, write, present and negotiate their offer to the seller, ensure all the applications, inspections etc. are properly engaged, make sure documentation is correct, explained and understood, and assist the process right through to move-in day.
From the Buyer's point of view, this is great. It is all without cost to the Buyer. The Realtor still earns his commission through the Seller, and the Buyer gets complete one stop service.
LIMITED DUAL AGENCY
The only exception to this is in the Limited Dual Agency circumstance. Here the Buyer is introduced to the property by the listing agent. In such case both parties agree that the listing agent is allowed to proceed in a limited capacity. The limitations simplified are that the agent cannot disclose personal details about one party to the other without permission, the agent can only represent the price offered or counter-offered and not imply any other price may be acceptable, and the agent cannot reveal motivations of one party to the other. The one exception to privacy is that the agent is required to disclose any known defects in the property to Buyer whether the Seller has authorized it or not.
Under the new Designated Agency model used in BC, the Limited Dual Agency does not typically extend to two agents from the same office working with separate clients on the sell and buy of a property. Here each Realtor is the agent for their respective clients.