Teresa keep in mind an agent is bound by certain legal obligations. Traditionally, these common-law obligations are to: Put the client's interests above anyone else's; Keep the client's information confidential; Obey the client's lawful instructions; Report to the client anything that would be useful; and Account to the client for any money involved.
NOTE: A REALTORÂ® is held to an even higher standard of conduct under the NARâ€™s Code of Ethics. In recent years, state laws have been passed setting up various duties for different types of agents. As you start working with a REALTORÂ®, ask for a clear explanation of your state's current regulations, so that you will know where you stand on these important matters.
Their is a big difference between a buyer's and a seller's broker
Suppose you sign an offer to buy a home for $150,000. You really want the property and there's a chance other offers are coming in, so you tell the broker that "We'll go up to $160,000 if we have to. But of course don't tell that to the seller." If you're dealing with a seller's agent, he or she may be duty-bound to tell the seller that important fact. In most states, the seller's agent doesn't have any duty of confidentiality toward you. Honest treatment might require that the agent warn you that "I must convey to the seller anything that would be useful so don't tell me anything you wouldn't tell the seller." So I reccomend buyers use a buyers broker. Bruce makes a great point on credentials look for a broker rather than simply a salesperson this is the only agent distinction conveyed by the California Department Of Real Estate between agents. You may ask does the agent have an active real estate license in good standing? To find this information, you can check the California Department Of Real Estate website http://www2.dre.ca.gov/PublicASP/pplinfo.asp
on this website simply type in the agent name to see if they have a "clean" record you can also check their license status "Salesperson" or "Broker".
Other questions to ask:
Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyerâ€™s search service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORSÂ® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region.
Is real estate their full-time career? A real full time agent has active listings and recent sales
What real estate designations does the agent hold?
Which party is he or she representing--you or the seller? This discussion is supposed to occur early on, at "first serious contact" with you. The agent should discuss your state's particular definitions of agency, so you'll know where you stand.
In exchange for your commitment, how will the agent help you accomplish your goals? Show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you?