There are many ways an agent can represent a Seller and/or Buyer.
The best document that describes the various relationships is the Wyoming Real Estate Brokerage Disclosure. Please click the REAL-ESTATE-BROKERAGE-DISCLOSURE.pdf to view this document.
Many years ago when the agency relationships were established in Wyoming, many Buyers thought they were being represented by the Agent that was showing houses to them; unfortunately, the truth to the matter is that the Agent's primary loyalty was to the Seller of the property. This loyalty did not seem or feel very honest to me, and sadly, most Buyers were not aware of this fact. This loyalty meant that the agent was required to reveal to the Sellers any information that the agent discovered about the Buyers.
I have always operated by using the Golden Rule - treat others the way I would want to be treated so I did not like this old way.
Fortunately, Buyers can be represented now by using a Buyer's Agency Agreement. Please click the EXCLUSIVE-RIGHT-TO-BUY-CONTRACT-BUYERS-AGENCY.pdf to view the actual document. The Buyer can choose to not use this Buyer's agency agreement, and leave the "default" representation. If this happens, do not tell the agent anything that you do not want the Seller to know. This agreement can be for a one-time showing, a specific time period (even one day), or a specific house. In this agreement, the agent and Buyer can agree on a commission that the Buyer will pay the agent or even an hourly wage to find them a home. Fortunately, the agreement can also state that the Seller pay the commission.
The above document is the best explanation for Agency relationships in Wyoming; however, here is a brief overview:
SELLER AGENCY: This is the traditional and "default" situation. Unless disclosed to the contrary, all agents (listing agents and selling agents) who are involved in a real estate transaction represent the Seller, and the agent owe the upmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity to the Seller. If you contact an Agent who has a property listed, please remember that this agent will always represent the Seller. This relationship is established by using a listing contract. Please see the above Real Estate Brokerage Disclosure for further explanation.
BUYER AGENCY: This agency relationship is only established by a written contract between the Buyer and the Agent. The Agent owes the upmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity to the Buyer. Please see the above Real Estate Brokerage Disclosure for further explanation.
CUSTOMER: This relationship does not require any written contract, and the agent must deal with the customer honestly and fairly, but his loyalty is with the Seller.
INTERMEDIARY AGENCY: This agency relationship is established by a written contract. This relationship occurs in two ways. One senario occurs when two agents, who work for the same firm; each assist one side of a transaction - the Buyer or the Seller. The second senario that creates a intermediary agency occurs when one agent assists a Buyer and a Seller in the same transaction. This situation must be disclosed to both the Buyer and the Seller. Privileged information, SUCH AS, the price a Buyer is willing to pay for a home or the price a Seller is willing to take for a home, cannot be disclosed to the other party without the express written permission of that party. A contract changing the relationship must be signed by both parties prior to any further contracts being written. Do not be afraid of this agency relationship. It is very common in real estate, and it can be handled very effectively and honestly to the satisfaction of all parties. Please see the above Real Estate Brokerage Disclosure for further explanation.
Please remember when you are looking for your next home, you want to have an agent working in your behalf.
Remember: It is free to Buyers!