Most agents that represent buyers require the buyers to pay them a percentage of the purchase price as their fee for assisting in the purchase of a new home. There is an inherent conflict in this model.
A buyer agent has a fiduciary obligation to act in the best interest of their client. However, because the buyer agent requires their client to pay them a percentage of the sales price, the agent's interest is actually in conflict with the buyer's interest.
The buyer's interest is to pay as little as possible for the home. In contrast, the agent's interest is to get paid as much as possible for each transaction. Because the agent gets paid more if the buyer pays more, there is a divergence in the interest of the client and agent.
Arguably this inherent conflict is itself a breach of the fiduciary obligation an agent owes to its buyer clients. We recommend that buyers fully discuss this potential conflict with their agent before signing any agreement.
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