Client vs. Customer: Semantics or a really big deal?

Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Buying, Market, Selling | 0 comments

Client vs. Customer: Semantics or a really big deal?

Client vs. Customer: Semantics or a really big deal?


It has become one of my favorite sayings:  “In real estate, representation is everything.


I find that to be especially true in this current buyer’s market.  So many buyers are missing out on great opportunities because they are unaware that they are entitled to a very special kind of representation.  They instead wind up working with an agent who is acting in the best interest of the seller.


In my article in Dan’s Hamptons “Ask the Expert” column last year, I covered a few basics on how a buyer can tell who the agent represents and why that’s important.


Hopefully, the tables below will clarify any confusion as to the two very different relationships when it comes to buyers working with real estate agents.


Please don’t be thrown off by the word customer.  People automatically associate that word with someone who is purchasing something – thereby relating it to the buying side of real estate.  Well, that’s not necessarily so, as a customer can be a seller as well.  In real estate jargon, the definition of customer is “the third party with whom the agent deals on behalf of the principal (client).”  Sounds pretty unappealing, doesn’t it?



HONESTY Ensure all laws and regulations pertaining to the transaction are obeyed
ACCOUNTING Safeguard money and property held on behalf of the customer
REASONABLE SKILL Provide customer with standards of practice and competence that are reasonably expected
DISCLOSURE (Material Fact and Agency) Disclose material facts about a property.  Disclose agency relationship.  Explain the difference between a customer and client relationship in a timely fashion SO THAT A CUSTOMER CAN PROTECT THEIR OWN INTERESTS



CLIENT                 DUTY
FULL DISCLOSURE Disclose all info that might affect the clients decision
LOYALTY Do not conduct the client’s business in such a way to benefit the customer or any other party to the detriment of the client’s interest
CONFIDENTIALITY Do not divulge any confidential information about the client told or learned by the agent within the agency relationship
REASONABLE CARE AND DILIGENCE Protect the client from foreseeable risks or harm and recommend the client obtain expert advice or assistance when needs are outside the scope of the agents expertise
OBEDIENCE Act subject to the client’s continuous control (following all lawful instructions)
ACCOUNTING Safeguard money and property held on behalf of client


The Hamptons’ Edge Real Estate Group  –  In Real Estate, Representation is Everything.

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