The real estate agent acts as the agent of either the seller or the buyer. The seller contracts with the real estate agent in the standard form listing agreement. The real estate agent agrees to try to find a buyer on the terms specified in return for the seller’s promise to pay a commission if the agent is successful. A buyer can similarly contract with a real estate agent to find a property on the terms specified in return for a commission.
The real estate agent’s duty includes the duty of an agent to act in the best interest of the principal, the seller or buyer (the law of agency). Also, the real estate agent has a duty to act honestly and to exercise reasonable care and skill when providing information and opinions that third parties may rely on to their detriment (the tort of negligent misrepresentation).