Why Do I Need a Buyer-Broker Agreement?

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Crofton, MD 21114

Q&A - istockphoto.comQ.  I didn't have a buyer-broker agreement when I bought my last home... Why do I need one now?

A.  At your first scheduled meeting with any real estate licensee in Maryland, you will receive a form titled Understanding Whom Real Estate Agents Represent (sometimes referred to as the "Agency Disclosure") which you must sign.  No obligation on your part is implied when you sign this form; it simply acknowledges that you received a copy of this information from the agent.

The Agency Disclosure provides very clear and comprehensive explanations of the relationship between real estate licensees and consumers in Maryland.  In the meantime, here's a much briefer explanation that will help answer your question.


sign contract - istockphoto.comAgents Who Represent the Seller -

  • A Listing Agent is the real estate licensee hired by the seller of Maryland real estate to represent the seller's best interest. 
  • A Co-operating Agent is a real estate licensee who simply assists the buyer but represents the seller (not affiliated with the listing broker).

Agents Who Represent the Buyer -

  • A Presumed Buyer's Agent is a real estate licensee with whom you have no formal representation agreement.  He/she is presumed to be working in the buyer's best interest, provided they are not affiliated with the listing company.   However, a presumed buyer's agent cannot prepare an offer or negotiate on your behalf without a written agreement outlining both parties obligations to the other (A Buyer-Broker Agreement).
  • A Buyer's Agent - An agent hired by the buyer of Maryland real estate to represent the buyer's best interest.  This requires a written agreement outlining both parties obligations to the other in the search for and purchase of a home.  (A Buyer-Broker Agreement)

Dual Agents -

  • A Dual Agent does not exclusively represent either the buyer or seller, because both agents are associated with the same broker/real estate firm.  This is explained in much more detail on the required Agency Disclosure form and a separate form titled Consent for Dual Agency, which the buyer and seller must both sign when the listing and selling agent are affiliated with the same broker/real estate firm.


No matter which type of agent you choose to work with, you have certain rights and responsibilities that are outlined on the Agency Disclosure, including this one:

  • All agreements with real estate brokers and agents should be in writing and should explain the duties and obligations of both the broker and the agent. The agreement should explain how the broker and agent will be paid and any fee-sharing agreements with other brokers and agents.  (That's word for word, straight from the form.)


This written agreement is the Buyer-Broker Agreement which formally makes you a "client" rather than a "customer" of the agent.  Yvette Chisolm, a colleague at Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., addressed this topic in her post Client or Customer - Does It Really Matter?, and I encourage you to click through and read it.  Together with the brief descriptions of the different types of "agency" in Maryland you see here, I think Yvette's post will help clarify why you need a Buyer-Broker Agreement in Maryland.


Information in this post should not be construed as legal advice.  Be sure to consult with a Maryland-licensed attorney for information about any legal matter, including the sale or purchase of a home.

Posted by

Margaret Woda, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Military Residential Specialist (MilRES®)
(410) 451-6245    mwoda@mris.com

Margaret Woda


Search for homes and explore the pages of MargaretWoda.com at your own pace and convenience for more information about homes, communities, and the home buying or selling process in Maryland.


Information contained in this blog post is reliable on the date of publication, but it is subject to change without notice.


Re-Bloggged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Billie Hillier 01/24/2011 12:30 AM
  2. Ellie McIntire 01/25/2011 07:13 AM
  3. Ed Silva 01/28/2011 10:37 AM
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Comments 39 New Comment

Margaret Woda
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Crofton, MD 21114

Brian - I agree, but the industry can hardly take this on... there probably aren't 2 states in the country that have exactly the same laws in effect.  It's got to be done a State-wide level, and I think the requirement Maryland agents have to address the issue at the first scheduled meeting is a good one.

Bill - My head says list, my heart says sell.  I seem to go in waves, however the tide comes in. 

Gary - This is becoming a theme in the comments.  Consumers don't understand.  I think that's one reason Yvette's post about "Client" vs. "Customer" is so relevant.

Michael - I think you're right about this.  And really... who's going to do this if we don't do it, at least when we meet with a buyer one on one.



January 25, 2011 02:25 PM
Bill Rozek
NMLS #214260
Embrace Home Loans, Inc.

BillWell written, Margaret.  Since I'm also working in Maryland, I'm going to add this topic to my list to write about to drip on my email list of prospects and contacts.

By educating them in advance, they know it is to their benefit to have an agent who represents their interests. As a result, when they are finally ready to buy, they often call me to ask about a referral to an agent who is an expert in the locality they are interested in.

January 25, 2011 05:12 PM
Chris Olsen
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate
Olsen Ziegler Realty

Hi Margaret -- It's interesting to note the differences in both terms and legalities from state to state. Thanks for sharing.

January 25, 2011 11:07 PM
Coral Gundlach
Century 21 Redwood Realty, Arlington Virginia

Hi Margaret: I wish we had a requirement for that disclosure in VA.  I have recently begun insisting on at least a meeting and review of the BBA before showing houses.  I won't make you sign it right away, but before putting significant time in, I want it signed.  Or maybe a one day agreement as a compromise.  

I recently showed my own listing to a buyer through Zillow and talked to him about this.  He wanted to see more properties with me and told him I wanted to do the above.    Absolute refusal.  Said he wanted to "not be limited"  and the "agent who shows him the house he wants to buy, gets rewarded."  I explained all the benefits of working with a buyer's agent and how listing agents are not inclined to represent his best interests, or doing dual at the most.   Nada.   These documents should be required by law in all states, IMHO. 

February 05, 2011 07:49 AM
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July 21, 2013 02:35 PM

Margaret Woda

Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
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Additional Information

Real Estate and community information for home buyers and sellers, military transferees, and rookie agents in the greater Crofton area, including Annapolis, Bowie, Davidsonville, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Joint Base Andrews, Millersville, Odenton, and the U.S. Naval Academy.


Margaret Woda