Massachusetts Real Estate


The Dummies Guide to Agency and buying & selling a home in Massachusetts

Agency law has changed on numerous occasions in Massachusetts over the past decade for the types of representation that can occur. I will try to break it down into its simplest terms for the laymen to understand.

       SELLER'S AGENT- A Seller's agent works exclusively for the seller. A seller can engage the services of Realtor to sell his or her home. This is often refereed to as the "Listing agent". In this instance the agent works for the seller. The agent owes the seller undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure, and obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality and accountability, provided, however, that the agent must disclose know defects in the real estate or seller's home.

 The Realtor must always put the seller's best interests 1st and negotiate for the best price and terms for their client, the seller. A good Realtor selling homes in Metrowest MA will never put their financial interests ahead of their seller client.

 It pays to interview an use a good Realtor when selling your home in Massachusetts. See my blog on Smart Questions to ask the Realtor you are interviewing. These are great questions to ask as they will weed out the Realtors that don't do much business. It makes sense to hire a pro! I would also look at my blog about Making smarter choices in picking your Real Estate Agent.

 The seller, when selling their home in Massachusetts can authorize their listing agent to allow sub-agents or Seller's agents to show the property. This is something I would absolutely stay away from!! When a seller allows sub-agency to occur they are opening themselves up to the potential lawsuits from wrongful misrepresentation from a sub-agent or seller's agent. See my blog Metrowest MA Real Estate - Why most companies don't offer sub-agency to get a better understanding of what I am talking about. 

The art of marketing/selling a home in Metrowest Massachusetts has changed dramatically over the last few years. The Internet has changed how real estate is bought and sold in Massachusetts. See selling your home in Metrowest MA to get a better understanding of how Internet exposure has changed the real estate game.

Buyer's Agent - A buyer's agent works exclusively for the Buyer. A buyer can engage the services of a Realtor to represent them exclusively as well. Like in the above example, the Buyer's agent owes the buyer undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality and accountability provided, however, that the Realtor must disclose know defects in the property. Again, like in the example above, the agent must be looking out for their buyer clients best interests and not their own. A good buyer's agent will be invaluable to their client in providing appropriate comparable sales data for the home they are interested in, as well as analyzing that data to form a basis of value and negotiating strategy to accomplish buying the home at fair market value or if lucky, below fair market value. 

A good buyers agent will never recommend that a buyer spend over fair market value to procure a home. The agent should never have their pocket book in mind. A buyers agent that has a good track record of sales and honesty are very important. A good agent that does a fair amount of business does not have to be worried about where their next check is coming from and therefore can be more objective when advising their client. Of course there are times when a buyer will spend over what an agent has recommended, that is fine because the buyer is choosing to do so on their own. Beside negotiating on the buyers behalf, A good buyers's agent will have an understanding of individual town demographics, School data, Highway access, and other things relevant to a buyers individual needs.

Dual Agent - Dual agency has changed quite a few times in Massachusetts over the last decade. At present Dual agency only occurs when an agent hired by the seller to work for them as a seller's agent, also works with a buyer in the same transaction. In this instance the Realtor would be representing both the buyer and seller. Written consent is required in Dual agency prior to the execution of an offer. A dual agent can not satisfy fully the duties of loyalty, full disclosure, and obedience to lawful instruction which is required of a exclusive buyer or seller agent. A dual agent still must owe a duty of confidentiality or material information and accounting for funds. The written consent for Dual agency must contain the information provided for in the regulations of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Sales people. A sample Dual agency consent form is available at the Boards MASS.Gov website.

I make it a practice to get consent from both the the buyer and seller well before an offer is drawn up. I will always explain how Dual agency works in Massachusetts when I am sitting down with the seller to list  their property. I will also explain to a buyer upon 1st meeting them how Dual agency occurs in Massachusetts.

One of the advantages I have ,because I work in a team, is that I am almost always able to remain working exclusively as a buyer's or seller's agent. If a buyer becomes interested in one of my listings I am able to refer them to one of my team mates.

Facilitator - The last type of agency in Massachusetts is facilitation. Facilitation is not that common in Metrowest MA. A facilitator is when a Realtor the seller and buyer in reaching an agreement but does not represent either the buyer or seller in the transaction. many companies will not allow facilitation for this very reason. Unless otherwise agreed the facilitator has no duty to keep information obtained about the seller or buyer confidential.Should the buyer or seller expressly agree, a facilitator relationship can be changed to become an exclusive seller's or buyer' agent relationship with either the buyer or seller.

Want expert guidance and an agent that puts their clients interests 1st? Contact Bill Gassett, RE/MAX Executive Realty via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356. Check out my website at Sell My Home in Metrowest MA.

Want to have MLS access to beat other buyers to your dream home? Sign up with no obligation at My MLS Property Finder Site.


I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Grafton, Northbridge, Uxbridge, and Framingham MA.

Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.

Comment balloon 0 commentsBill Gassett • July 29 2007 03:17PM
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