In residential real estate, agents are required to provide you with a statement indicating that they either a) represent you exclusively or b) if they are a dual agent. Dual agent sounds like something out of a science fiction book, doesn’t it? In the real estate world, it means an agent who represents both the buyer and the seller at once. How is that possible, you ask? There’s no way a dual agent can have both parties’ best interests at heart!
In commercial real estate, the law assumes that when someone is doing a transaction, they understand the law, and therefore, it doesn’t come up. Let’s say you want to lease space and you see a sign. You call the agent and they “help you” lease the space. If, before you signed, they’d given you an acknowledgement stating that they weren’t representing you (instead, they were representing the building), would you sign off? Probably not! And yet, that’s often what happens in our world.
Slowly but surely, however, things are changing. In late 2014, the state of California decided that they were going to require commercial agents to disclose exactly who they represent in a transaction. I suspect it won’t be long before this becomes a trend, and a similar law is passed here in Michigan. As a firm that exclusively represents end users, we welcome this change. Companies deserve to understand who is representing them in a transaction, and more importantly, to work with a representative who has their best interests at heart.