The difference between a Client or Customer is significant in real estate; however, it’s usually not understood by the general public. What’s the difference and how does it benefit the homebuyer or seller to become a client? Read on to find out.
A Customer is serviced by an agent or broker but does not have a contractual agreement in place. The benefits of being a customer are very limited. Customers are treated honestly and fairly but that is where the duties to a customer end. Customers are “NOT represented” by the REALTOR®. Without a written agreement in place, a REALTOR® cannot offer advice or opinions and cannot negotiate on a Customer’s behalf.
A Client has a binding contractual agreement with an agent or broker in the form of a Buyer’s Representation Agreement or Listing Agreement. This contract is legally binding, and as such, entitles the Client to a higher level of service than a Customer. An agent may only give their opinion and advice to a Client. A Client is owed fiduciary duties including Obedience, Loyalty, Disclosure, Confidentiality, Accounting, and Reasonable Care. An agent is permitted to negotiate on behalf of a Client and to look out for their best interests. By entering into an agreement with a REALTOR® or agency, you are “represented” in the real estate transaction.
In summary, to receive the full benefits of a REALTOR®, a buyer or seller needs to have an agreement in place and be a Client, not a Customer.
For more information or if you have additional questions, please get in touch. I’d be happy to help!