Before working with a real estate broker in Houston, you should know that the duties of the broker depend on whom the broker represents. If you are a prospective seller or landlord (owner) or a prospective buyer or tenant (buyer), you should know that the broker who lists the property for sale or lease is the owner’s agent. A broker who acts as a sub-agent represents the owner in cooperation with the listing broker. A broker who acts as a buyer’s agent represents the buyer. A broker may act as an intermediary between the parties if the parties consent in writing. A broker can assist you in locating a property, preparing a contract or lease, or obtaining financing with representing you. A commercial real estate broker is obligated by law to treat you honestly.
IF THE BROKER REPRESENTS THE OWNER:
The broker becomes the owner’s agent by entering into an agreement with the owner, usually through a written listing agreement or by agreeing to act as subagent by accepting an offer of subagent from the listing broker. A subagent may work in a different real estate office. A listing broker or subagent can assist the buyer but does not represent the buyer and must place the interests of the owner first. The buyer should not tell the owner’s agent anything the buyer would not want the owner to know because an owners agent must disclose to the owner anymaterial information known to the agent.
IF THE BROKER REPRESENTS THE BUYER:
The broker becomes the buyer’s agent by entering into an agreement to represent the buyer, usually through a written buyer representation agreement. A buyer’s agent can assistthe owner but does not represent the owner and must place the interests of the buyer first. The owner should not tell a buyer’s agent anything the owner would not want thebuyer to know because a buyer’s agent must disclose to the buyer any material information known to the agent.
IF THE BROKER ACTS AS AN INTERMEDIARY:
A broker may act as an intermediary between the parties ifthe broker complies with The Texas Real Estate LicenseAct. The broker must obtain the written consent of eachparty to the transaction to act as an intermediary. Thewritten consent must state who will pay the broker and, inconspicuous bold or underlined print, set forth the broker’s obligations as an intermediary. The broker is required to treat each party honestly and fairly and tocomply with The Texas Real Estate License Act. A broker who acts as an intermediary in a transaction:
Shall treat all parties honestly;
May not disclose that the owner will accepta price less than the asking price unless authorized in writing to do so by the owner;
May not disclose that the buyer will pay aprice greater than the price submitted in a written offer unless authorized in writing to doso by the buyer; and
May not disclose any confidential information or any information that a party specifically instructs the broker in writing not to disclose unless authorized in writing to disclose the information or required to do so by The Texas Real Estate License Act or a court order or if the information materially relates to the condition of the property.
With the parties’ consent, a broker acting as an intermediary between the parties may appoint a personwho is licensed under The Texas Real Estate License Act and associated with the broker to communicatewith and carry out instructions of one party and another person who is licensed under that Act andassociated with the broker to communicate with and carry out instructions of the other party.
If you choose to have a broker represent you,
you should enter into a written agreement with the broker that clearly establishes the broker’s obligationsand your obligations. The agreement should state howand by whom the broker will be paid. You have the right to choose the type of representation, if any, you wish to receive. Your payment of a fee to a broker does not necessarily establish that the broker represents you. If you have any questions, regarding the duties and responsibilities of the broker, you should resolve those questions before proceeding.
Real Estate licensees asks that you acknowledge receipt of this information about brokerage services for the licensee’s records.