Who Do The Agents Work For? Why Sign the Agency Disclosure?
The New York State Division of Licensing Services, as with most states, requires that agents, whether they represent the seller, landlord, buyer or tenant, disclose their respective duties. The New York State Disclosure form is a requirement in all real estate transactions. A signature demonstrates your understanding of the agent’s role in the real estate transaction.
In an excerpt from the form in regard to both the seller’s, landlord’s, buyer’s, tenant’s agent it states that the agent has, without limitation, the following fiduciary duties to the seller/landlord/buyer/tenant: reasonable care, undivided loyalty, confidentiality, full disclosure, obedience and duty to account.
For a seller’s or landlord’s agent this means, (a) exercise reasonable skill and care in performance of the agent’s duties; (b) deal honestly, fairly and in good faith; and (c) disclose all facts known to the agent materially affecting the value or desirability of property, except as otherwise provided by law.
For the buyer’s or tenant’s agent this means, (a) exercise reasonable skill and care in performance of the agent’s duties; (b) deal honestly, fairly and in good faith; and (c) disclose all facts known to the agent materially affecting the buyer’s/tenant’s ability and/or willingness to perform a contract to acquire seller’s/landlord’s property that are not inconsistent with the agent’s fiduciary duties to the buyer/tenant.
There is also a Dual Agent designation on the form. This states the agent acts on behalf of both the seller/landlord and the buyer/tenant. This kind of representation hinders an agent’s ability to entirely fulfill their duties were they working in only one capacity or the other. It is important that they explain and that you understand those ramifications beforehand.