After successfully completing this topic, you will be able to
• list the duties of a single agent,
• explain the procedure for transitioning from a single agent to a transaction broker, and
• describe the requirement for when a single agent is to give the single agent notice.
A single agent is a broker who represents, as a fiduciary, either the buyer or seller but not both in the same transaction.
The party with whom a real estate licensee has entered a single agent relationship is the principal. Only a single agent can call the customer a principal. A contract is not necessary for a broker to act as a single agent, and there is no requirement that the principal pay compensation to the single agent.
A single agent owes nine specific duties to the principal
• Dealing honestly and fairly.
• Full disclosure.
• Accounting for all funds.
• Skill, care and diligence in the transaction.
• Presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner.
• Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property that are not readily observable.
The single agent must give the single agent notice before, or at the time of, entering into a listing agreement or an agreement for representation or before showing the property, whichever occurs first. The notice should be signed. If the principal declines to sign it, the licensee should note the fact on the form and may continue to work as the single agent.
It is the broker who has the principal, so it’s the brokerage firm that is the single agent. A licensee who works for the firm is, by extension, a single agent for the same principal. If a brokerage firm lists property for a seller, acting as the seller’s single agent, all members of the brokerage firm are also single agents of the seller.
The single agent notice is shown below:
In a situation where a broker is the single agent for the seller, and the buyer (who the broker represents as a single agent) becomes interested in the seller’s listing, the broker cannot continue to be a single agent for both parties, nor be a single agent for one party and a transaction broker for one party. It is likely that the broker will change hats to become a transaction broker. A single agent can change to be a transaction broker at any time during the relationship. Before changing status, the broker must get the informed written consent of both the seller and the buyer that it is all right to stop being a fiduciary and become a transaction broker. This is accomplished by having each party sign a Consent to Transition to Transaction Broker Notice. Both parties must sign the notice before the broker can proceed in the transaction.
The Consent to Transition to Transaction Broker Notice notice is shown below: