Agency in Michigan … Why ? What IS Agency ?

Why does Michigan have agency laws? View Our Recent Listings

Note: While every reasonable attempt has been made here to be accurate in quoting Michigan law regarding “agency relationships,” computers and web browsers are subject to error. The law may also change from time to time. Obtain a copy (from your real estate agent) of the latest interpretation of the law in the state where you are buying or selling property.
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Michigan Law — As of Jan 1, 1994 Michigan law requires real estate licensees to advise potential sellers or buyers with whom they work of the nature of their agency relationship.
In Michigan, real estate agents and brokers are required to provide you with a form that discloses who they will represent in the transaction. The “Agency Disclosure Statement” will be presented to you before you are shown property or discuss your financial ability to purchase or lease the property. Although you will be asked to sign the form acknowledging that it was given to you, it is not a contract and does not obligate you to work with the agent–it simply serves as a consumer disclosure form to protect your interests.

The “Agency Disclosure Statement” helps you understand the role of the real estate agent and broker in your real estate transaction. It is also intended to help you understand the role of other agents who may be involved in the transaction.

Seller’s Agent, Buyer’s AgentDual Agent, Transaction Coordinator . . .

A Michigan broker or salesperson may function in any of the following capacities:
Represent the seller as an authorized seller’s agent or subagent.Represent the buyer as an authorized buyer’s agent or subagent.Represent both seller and buyer as a disclosed dual agent authorized by both the seller and buyer.Represent neither the seller or buyer as an agent but provide services authorized by the seller or buyer to complete a transaction as a “transaction coordinator.”
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A seller’s agent under a listing agreement with the seller acts solely on behalf of the seller. A seller can authorize a seller’s agent to work with subagents, buyer’s agents and/or transaction coordinators. A subagent of the seller is one who has agreed to work with the listing agent, and who, like the listing agent, acts solely on behalf of the seller. Seller’s agents and their subagents will disclose to the seller known information about the buyer which may be used to the benefit of the seller.The duties that a seller’s agent and subagent owes to the seller include:

*****Promoting the best interest of the seller.
*****Fully disclosing to the seller all facts that might affect or influence the seller’s decision to accept an offer to purchase.
*****Keeping confidential the seller’s motivations for selling.
*****Presenting all offers to the seller.
*****Disclosing the identities of all buyers and all information about the willingness of those buyers to complete the sale or to offer a higher price.
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A buyer’s agent, under a buyer’s agency agreement with the buyer, acts solely on behalf of the buyer. A subagent of the buyer is one who has agreed to work with the buyer’s agent and who, like the buyer’s agent, acts solely on behalf of the buyer. Buyer’s agents and their subagents will disclose to the buyer known information about the seller which may be used to benefit the buyer.The duties a buyer’s agent and subagent owe to the buyer include:

*****Promoting the best interest of the buyers.
*****Fully disclosing to the buyer all facts that might affect or influence the buyer’s decision to tender an offer to purchase.
*****Keeping confidential the buyer’s motivations for buying.
*****Presenting all offers on behalf of the buyer.
*****Disclosing to the buyer all information about the willingness of the seller to complete the sale or to accept a lower price.
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When practicing Dual Agency, the agent agrees not to share any confidential information about their clients and customers. Dual Agency real estate licensee can be the agent of both the seller and the buyer in a transaction but only with the knowledge and informed consent, in writing, of both the seller and the buyer. In such a dual agency situation the licensee will not be able to disclose all known information to either the seller or the buyer.

As a dual agent, the licensee will not be able to provide the full range of fiduciary duties to the seller or the buyer. However it is often easier to put the buyer and seller together to negotiate “a meeting of the minds” to make a happy transaction for everyone.

The obligations of a dual agent are subject to any specific provisions set forth in any agreement between the dual agent, the seller and the buyer.

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A transaction coordinator is a licensee who is not acting as an agent of either the seller or the buyer, yet is providing services to complete a real estate transaction.The transaction coordinator is not an agent for either party and therefore owes no fiduciary duty to either party.

The transactional coordinator is not the advocate of either party and therefore has no obligation to negotiate for either party. The responsibilities of the transaction coordinator typically include:
*****Providing access to and the showing of the property.
*****Providing access to market information.
*****Providing assistance in the preparation of a buy and sell agreement which reflects the terms of the parties’ agreement.
*****Presenting a buy and sell agreement and any subsequent counter-offers.
*****Assisting all parties in undertaking all steps necessary to carry out the agreement, such as the execution of documents, the obtaining of financing, the obtaining of inspections, etc.

Please Note: Agency law in Michigan is essentially unchanged from principles established over hundreds of years through common law; that is, the accumulation of hundreds of court rulings and interpretations. In its simplest form agency law determines the rights and responsibilities between parties when one party conducts business on behalf of another. Fiduciary duties such as loyalty, obedience, confidentiality, full disclosure and reasonable care are similar for many forms of industry. We cannot simply abolish agency.

Ask for Wynne Achatz’ book: “How to Make Your REALTOR Get You the BEST DEAL” – MI edition co authored with Ken DeShaies of Colorado. Contact Wynne Achatz directly for information

Southeast Michigan Real Estate Services
Wynne Achatz
Real Estate One Westrick
Call 586-260-7653.
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