If you are considering buying or selling residential real estate in Maine it is important for you to understand that state law provides for different levels of brokerage services. You should decide whether you want to be represented in a transaction (as a client) or not (as a customer). The following information should assist you in making that determination.
Maine law requires that all real estate brokerage companies and their affiliated agents and brokers to perfrom certain basic duties when dealing with a buyer or seller. There customer-level services include: 1) To disclose all material defects pertaining to the physical condition of the property; 2) To treat both the buyer and seller honestly and 3) To comply with all state and federal laws pertaining to real estate brokerage activity.
If you want to enter into a client-agent relationship, several different options are available:
If you engage the services of a Listing agent to sell your property, you become the broker's client. That agent then represents you, the seller, and owes you undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and accountability. In negotiating for the best price and terms, your interests first are the agent's first priority.
You may engage the services of a agent to represent you exclusively as a buyer of real property. In this case, the agent represents you and is accountable to you only. He or she must obey your instructions, and keep confidential anything you tell divuldge that may affect your purchase of real property. In negotiating for the best price and terms, the agent must always put your interests first, just as in the case of the selling agent.
Disclosed Dual Agent
An agent can work for both the buyer and the seller on the same transaction, providing that there is consent of both parties...in writing! In this case, the agent is considered a "Disclosed Dual Agent." This agent then owes both the seller and the buyer a duty to deal with them fairly and honestly, and to hold each of their respective interests in confidence. In this type of agency relationship, the angent does not represent either the seller or the buyer exclusively, and neither party can expect the agent to put one party's interests ahead of the other's, or to advise either party on how to gain an advantage over the other. Undisclosed Dual Agency by a broker is illegal.
Documents to Download
Below are examples of common documents used in the purchase of a home. Included are the standard Form 3 (which outlines agency relationships) and a Residential Transaction Booklet.
Our Total Home Buying Program reviews more of our client services and the Residental Property Transaction Booklet is a summary of important terms, definitions and procedures common in Maine Real Estate.