As a Buyer looking for a home, this may seem like a simple question that begs a simple answer. Unfortunately, because the statutes of the State of Missouri have created complex rules of agency for real estate professionals, the answer is not simple and is not easily understood by Buyers. Part of the complexity comes from the myriad of definitional terms that the statutes use in applying these rules of agency.
A “Buyer’s agent”, by statutory definition, represents only the Buyer. The agent that a Buyer works with in looking for a home is usually a licensed salesperson supervised and designated by a licensed Broker to work with that Buyer (the salesperson and the designating broker are both treated as the “Buyer’s Agent” under the statute). The reasonable expectation of the Buyer is that the salesperson and designating broker only represent the interests of the Buyer. However, what happens when the salesperson pursues a transaction on behalf of the Buyer with respect to a home that is listed by the designating Broker? In my view, the salesperson and the designating broker cannot proceed unless both Buyer and Seller consent in writing to “Dual Agency”. “Dual Agency”, by statutory definition, means the salesperson and the designating broker represent the interests of BOTH Buyer and Seller. If a “Dual Agency” is created, the Buyer is no longer represented by a “Buyer’s Agent” in the transaction.
This situation never occurs with Wm. French because Wm. French does not list properties for sale. Wm. French only represents Buyers.