In real estate business, an agent or mediator denotes a broker or marketer whom a principal (buyer or seller) has empowered to act on his or her behalf in conducting business deals with other parties. In fact, while officially representing a principal, an agent actually becomes a complement of the buyer or seller and enables the principal to enter into legal agreements or association with other parties in a real estate transaction. In brief, an agent represents the principal in all legal real estate transactions and is required to be loyal and committed to principal in all matters.

Responsibility or role

Like in any other field, a real estate agent or negotiator has multiple responsibilities. The most important or key responsibility of an agent is to comply with all legal directives of the principal even if there is any disagreement between the two sides on any subject. However, the agent does not have to function under the express and meticulous monitoring and administration of the principal regarding the manner in which the agreed task has to be accomplished. There may be several instances where an agent is empowered to help the principal (buyer or seller) enter into legally binding agreements with others who have been described as third or other parties in the contract between the agent and the principal. The association between the proprietor of a real estate and a real estate negotiator taken on to help sell his property will enable one to understand the role of an agent better.

It may be noted here that a real estate agent or negotiator is different from agents in other business as the real estate broker is empowered to act on behalf of the principal and also parley agreements for the principal even while her or she in not given the responsibility of the deed records or the legal document pertaining to the sale of a property. In order to make the role and responsibility of a real estate agent explicit, it may be measured up to two examples - first, the relationship between a boss and the person serving him and second, the connection between an employer and a self-supporting worker or a freelancer. While it is much easy to describe these three relationships theoretically, but difficult to them in put into actual practice as each of these variations possibly will take on intricate and intersecting modes in present day business.

Putting the issue in simple terms, a real estate agency is to some extent unlike the conventional relationship between principals and their representatives in other businesses. For instance, in the conventional agent-principal association, the principal has a greater hold on the activities of the agent. But in real estate business the seller does not have as much domination on his or her agent or representative. In actual fact, in real estate transactions, the brokers have different principals, which include the buyer as well as the seller, and they are committed to both vis-à-vis trust and commitment. In addition, in real estate business the broker's firm is not given the responsibility of the asset, but its role is limited to only selling the property. Hence, a real estate agency is considered to be unique and something different from the traditional agent-principal relationship as in this case the brokerage is associated with buying and selling property at the same time.

Entrusting responsibilities and duties

According to the legal stipulations, it is mandatory for all agents or negotiators to individually perform their duties and fulfill their responsibilities towards the principals (sellers and buyers). This has been necessitated as all principals look forward to the agents to complete the tasks assigned to them at the time of signing the formal contract. Nonetheless, there are some omissions or exclusions to these principles in the instance of a real estate business of a broker. In the real estate business, there are basically three main forms of delegation of duties or responsibilities to agents and they include express authority, implied consent and statutory delegation.

Express or direct authority

In real estate transactions, express or direct authority is most widespread and frequent procedure of allocating duties to an agent. Delegation of express authority is done through numerous registration agreements whereby the buyer or seller (principal) grants permission to a registered agent to collaborate with other brokers or agents to sell his or her property. In the instance of a collaborating agent being a subordinate or sub-broker, the responsibilities of the brokerage towards the principal is transferred to the sub-agent.

Implied or indirect consent

A principal may also allocate the duties and responsibilities to a real estate agent indirectly or through inference (implication). In this instance, it is deemed that the principal has delegated the responsibilities and duties to an agent through indirect approval provided the agent or broker is engaged in a vocation where it is generally understood that assignment of tasks or responsibilities are not only essential, but also a common procedure. This form of delegating duties is best exemplified when a buyer or seller hands over the registration of a property to a real estate agent. Conventionally, a registered broker's firm was considered to be an agent and the collaborating agent was deemed as the subordinate broker who was obligated to the principal for the identical responsibilities to the seller as the listed brokerage. However, in recent times, the collaborating agent has adopted the task of a buyer brokerage where his or her loyalty is towards the buyer and the registered agent is committed or loyal to the seller.

Legal (statutory) delegation of duties

The third and the last procedure of delegating duties to an agent in real estate business are through legal means. In this case the real estate agents are allowed to assign duties or tasks to registered marketers as per the legal provisions in different provinces. Consequently, if a marketer registered under the said Act is engaged by a real estate brokerage, he or she is entitled to work for the agent and also obtain property registrations as well as sell the asset on behalf of the broker's firm. In most provinces of Canada, the most common real estate deal entails a registered broker's firm that functions as the agent or negotiator for the seller of an estate and, in case there are any, the collaborative agents are considered to be the representatives of the prospective buyer save for any specific agreement that denies this system. Hence, the commitment of the collaborative agent or brokerage is towards the buyer, while the registered broker firm is committed to the seller. In this instance the brokerage fees for both the registered agent as well as the collaborative agent are shelled out from the money received by the seller from the sale of his or her property.

Responsibilities towards the principal (buyer or seller)

Legally, a registered real estate agent or negotiator has to perform several duties or has various tasks for the principal, be it the buyer or the seller of a property. The responsibilities of a listed brokerage include the stipulations under the common law in Canada as well as the specific rules applicable in different provinces of the country. Basically, the primary responsibilities of a registered broker firm in Canada towards its principal include sincerity, complete revelation of all information regarding the transaction, proficiency and compliance. In addition, the law requires that the agent will have to look after the business records (accountancy) of the client, preserve his or her privacy in all matters and remain trustworthy to the principal.

It is important to note here that if it is not specifically and officially mentioned in a direct approval, through inference or a decree, a real estate agent is obliged to carry out all the responsibilities and duties assigned by the principal personally. In the instance of an agent failing to perform his or her responsibilities, the principal has the option to initiate several measures against the broker. These actions comprise booting the agent, claiming compensation from the agent, initiate proceedings to get back the estate, for bookkeeping and prevent making payments, seeking the agent's trial as well as protection or insurance.

Responsibilities towards third parties

Normally, it is taken for granted that a real estate agent acting on behalf of his client will remain totally committed towards them. Now it is essential to find out the responsibilities of a real estate broker towards a third party, where he or she does not have any association, in a property deal. In fact, a real estate broker's firm or a marketer has certain legal responsibilities. And if the agent or the salesperson does not succeed in fulfilling these duties, they are liable for damages or compensation. The law lists these failures as projecting a false impression concerning a listed property to any third party, lacking to be impartial and principled in business dealings and adopting enough carefulness or carefulness while responding correctly to queries from third parties or providing them with the right data regarding the property listed for sale.

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