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What Does Sub Agency Mean In Real Estate

In the world of real estate, the concept of sub agency can be both intriguing and complex. Agents are not always working directly for the buyer or the seller, but can also function as sub-agents, representing the opposite party. This is where things get interesting, as they must prioritize the interests of the client they represent while still providing equal professionalism and ethically supporting both parties involved.

Understanding sub agency is crucial in navigating the real estate industry. With a history rooted in the traditional agency model, sub agency has evolved to accommodate the changing dynamics of the market. Today, it serves as a solution to effectively bridge the gap between buyers and sellers, ensuring transparent communication, and maximizing the potential for successful transactions.

Understanding Sub Agency in Real Estate

In the world of real estate, there are various terms and concepts that both buyers and sellers should be familiar with. One such concept is sub agency. Sub agency refers to the relationship between a real estate agent and their client, specifically when that agent is representing the seller. In this article, we will delve into what sub agency means in the context of real estate and how it affects the parties involved in a transaction.

Before we explore sub agency further, it’s important to understand the main players in a real estate transaction. The primary parties involved are the buyer and the seller. Each party typically has their own real estate agent to represent their interests. However, the seller’s agent can also work with sub agents, who are affiliated with the listing agent and assist in marketing the property and finding potential buyers.

Now, let’s discuss what sub agency means in the world of real estate and how it works in practice.

The Role of Sub Agents

Sub agents are real estate agents who work under the supervision of the listing agent to help market and sell a property. They are responsible for finding potential buyers, showing the property, and negotiating on behalf of the seller. It’s important to note that sub agents owe a fiduciary duty to the listing agent, who in turn owes a fiduciary duty to the seller.

When a sub agent works with a buyer who is interested in a particular property, they are still ultimately representing the seller’s interests. This means that they have an obligation to relay any information obtained from the buyer to the seller, even if it might not be in the buyer’s best interest. For example, if the buyer reveals their maximum budget to the sub agent, the sub agent must communicate this information to the seller.

It’s important for buyers to be aware of this dynamic when working with sub agents. While sub agents are still required to treat buyers fairly and honestly, they are ultimately working to secure the best deal for the seller.

Now that we understand the role of sub agents, let’s explore the benefits and drawbacks of sub agency in real estate.

Pros and Cons of Sub Agency

Pros of Sub Agency

1. Increased marketing reach: One of the advantages of sub agency is that it allows for greater exposure of a property. With multiple agents and sub agents working together, the marketing efforts can be more extensive, increasing the chances of finding potential buyers.

2. Expertise and support: Sub agents work under the supervision of the listing agent, who typically has more experience and knowledge in the real estate market. This means that sellers have access to a team of professionals who can provide expert advice and guidance throughout the selling process.

3. Streamlined communication: With sub agents assisting in the selling process, there is a clear line of communication between the seller, listing agent, and sub agents. This can help ensure that all parties are on the same page and working towards a common goal.

Cons of Sub Agency

1. Conflict of interest: The primary drawback of sub agency is the potential conflict of interest that arises when sub agents are representing the seller’s interests while working with buyers. Buyers may feel that they are not receiving unbiased advice and that their interests are not being fully represented.

2. Limited loyalty to buyers: Sub agents have a fiduciary duty to the seller, which means they are obligated to act in the seller’s best interest. This can limit the extent to which they can fully advocate for the buyer and negotiate on their behalf.

3. Lack of exclusivity: With sub agents involved, there may be a lack of exclusivity in the representation of the seller. This can lead to potential complications if multiple sub agents are working with different buyers who are interested in the same property.

It’s important for both buyers and sellers to carefully consider the pros and cons of sub agency before engaging in a real estate transaction.


In conclusion, sub agency in real estate refers to the relationship between a real estate agent and their client, specifically when the agent is representing the seller. Sub agents assist the listing agent in marketing and selling the property but ultimately owe a fiduciary duty to the listing agent and the seller. While there are benefits to sub agency, such as increased marketing reach and expertise, there are also drawbacks, including potential conflicts of interest and limited loyalty to buyers. Both buyers and sellers should carefully consider the implications of sub agency before proceeding with a real estate transaction.

In real estate, sub agency refers to a situation where an agent working with a buyer is actually representing the seller. It means that the agent owes a fiduciary duty to the seller and must act in their best interests.

This situation can arise when a buyer contacts an agent who is listing a property for sale. The agent may offer to help the buyer find a property, but the buyer should be aware that the agent’s loyalty lies with the seller. It’s important for buyers to understand the concept of sub agency and consider whether they need their own representation when working with a real estate agent.

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