What is an agent?

Definition of Agent

An agent is a person legally acting on behalf of another person or party. In the housing market, a real estate agent (also known as a Realtor) is authorized to act on the behalf of someone buying or selling a property.

This does not mean an agent can act completely independently of their client’s wishes. Agents must act in accordance with the law, their client’s wishes and based upon their fiduciary responsibility, which means an agent must act prudently and in the best interests of the client.

Why is this term important?

While all agents are not licensed, all Realtors are licensed professional real estate agents. Agents may or may not be part of a board, while real estate agents who use the title Realtor must be paying members of a provincial or jurisdictional real estate board.

To obtain a license, an agent must successfully complete mandatory education and training. Once the license is obtained, a real estate agent may represent their brokerage and act on behalf of their clients. By acting on behalf of their clients, an agent is able to negotiate the sale and purchase of residential or commercial property for either the buyer or seller.

Examples of term

While all residential real estate agents may represent either a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction, there are common terms used to define each side of the transaction. For instance, a listing agent represents someone selling a property, while a buyer's agent represents someone buying a property. A dual agent represents both the buyer and the seller, while dual agency means the same brokerage, but different agents, are representing the buyer and seller.