There are many different players in a real estate transaction: the seller, the seller's representative (called the Listing Agent), the buyer, and the agent who writes the offer to purchase for the buyer. Each of these people has a specific role during the transaction.
Buyers must understand that the agent writing the offer is either working as a Seller's agent, or as a Buyer's agent. A Seller's agent may assist the buyer by writing the offer, but has loyalty only to the seller. The Seller's agent cannot offer the buyer advice on the terms of the purchase contract or offer any personal opinion on the property or its value.
In contrast, a Buyer's Agent represents the buyer's interests. He or she writes the offer with the buyer, gives advice on contract terms such as price, and will offer an honest, professional opinion on the condition and value of a property.
Until a Buyer Agency Agreement is discussed and signed, a Realtor will work as a Seller's Agent, owing service to the seller rather than the buyer. Sign a Buyer Agency Agreement so that you have the advantage of a Buyer's Agent who will represent you and get you the best terms and price.
A Common Mistake Buyers Make
Typically, a buyer may see a home they like for sale and call the agent listed on the sign for more information. It seems like this is way it should work, but in reality, this is not a good practice. The agent on the sign is the Listing Agent and is working in the best interest of the seller.