A survey conducted by the Federal Trade Commission in 1983 revealed that 71% of Buyers incorrectly thought that the agent/subagent showing them property was looking out for their interests, when in actuality the salesperson was working for the seller. In reaction to this confusion, state legislatures eventually passed laws that required real estate agents to disclose what types of representation they could offer. It was the intent of this legislation to help real estate Buyers (and sellers) make informed decisions on the type of representation appropriate for them.
Addressing the need to clarify real estate relationships, the Wyoming State Legislature has defined three agency relationships for Buyers, one of which must exist for a real estate agent to be involved with a real estate Buyer. With the near disappearance of subagency (seller’s agents showing real estate to Buyers), only two of these relationships are practiced in Teton County, Wyoming. These relationships are:
1. Intermediary (Non-Agent) – Both the Buyer and the Seller sign written agreements acknowledging that the Intermediary (non-agent) is the advocate or representative of neither party. The intermediary agent’s purpose is to serve as “conduit” so that the Buyer and seller may negotiate their transaction.
An intermediary owes no fiduciary duty either to Buyer or seller and is not allowed to negotiate on behalf of the Buyer or the seller.
2. Buyer’s Agent – The Buyer’s agent signs a written Buyer’s Agency Agreement with the Buyer and owes the “utmost of good faith, loyalty, and fidelity” to the Buyer.
The Buyer’s Agent is an advocate for the Buyer.