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Agency Representation

Who represents you?

At Tea Lane Associates, we practice designated agency. This means that one Tea Lane agent may represent the buyer while another represents the seller in the same real estate transaction. This is different from the traditional model for real estate firms in Massachusetts. In the traditional model, when a buyer’s agent and seller’s agent in the same office find themselves in the same real estate transaction, their roles automatically become that of dual agents.

Tea Lane has chosen the designated agency model to provide maximum support and advocacy for both buyer and seller and minimize the occasions for dual agency within our firm. We operate with strict confidentiality so both parties are assured that their interests are protected.

For Sellers

When you list your property with Tea Lane Associates, you will have a dedicated listing agent whose job is to oversee the marketing of your property and represent you as a seller’s agent. Your listing agent will work closely with you as they advise you on pricing and preparing your property for sale. He or she will update you regularly on the Martha’s Vineyard real estate market and will be your guide and advocate in negotiations, helping you obtain the highest price and the best possible terms. Conversations between you and your listing agent are private and confidential.

Other agents at Tea Lane do not necessarily represent you.  For example, if another Tea Lane agent brings a buyer for your property, that agent may represent that buyer in negotiations while your listing agent represents you as a seller's agent.

For Buyers

When you work with an agent at Tea Lane Associates, you can choose to have them represent you as a buyer’s agent. Your buyer’s agent will be your advocate. Together you will discuss what you are looking for, identify properties to see and evaluate which ones best fit your needs. Your buyer’s agent will work with you to evaluate pricing in the Martha’s Vineyard real estate market and, when you are ready, help you negotiate an offer and obtain the lowest price and the best possible terms. Conversations between you and your buyer’s agent are private and confidential. Other agents at Tea Lane Associates are not your buyer’s agent and do not represent you.

Dual Agency

Even in designated agency firms, there are situations where it may make sense for one agent to represent both buyer and seller. Unlike the traditional agency model, these situations are less common in designated agency but they do occur. If a buyer decides they wish to make an offer on a property for which their buyer’s agent is also the listing agent, the question will arise: Does their agent work with both parties to negotiate an offer? If so, this is called dual agency because the same agent is now representing both buyer and seller.

A dual agent cannot advocate for one party at the expense of the other. (Most particularly, they cannot advocate for their clients to get the best possible price and terms.)

A dual agent’s obligation is to provide both parties with full and accurate market information so that both their clients can make informed decisions. It is the dual agent’s responsibility to respect the confidentiality of both their clients.

Dual agency can happen only with both parties’ written consent. This consent must be given before an offer is presented.

Dual vs. Designated AgencyWhich to Choose?

Dual agency offers additional challenges but, with a skilled and experienced agent and a knowledgeable buyer and seller, it can work well. In our experience, buyers and sellers in the situation described above most often consent to dual agency.

However, if either buyer or seller is not comfortable with dual agency, a second agent will be agreed upon to exclusively represent them.  That way, both buyer and seller will have their own representative in the negotiation.  Tea Lane Associates is an established firm with thirteen knowledgeable and highly skilled professional agents.  We draw from this pool so that buyers and sellers can always get the expert representation they need.

For additional information on agency representation please read the MA Agency Disclosure Form, and give us a call at 508-696-9999. We would be pleased to talk with you.