In Florida, residential real estate licensees may serve as a single agent, transaction broker, or maintain a no-representation status in a transaction. A single agent is a broker who represents either the buyer or the seller but not both in a luxury real estate transaction. The single agent status can only be created by writing. Single agents must disclose the nature of their relationship with a buyer or seller in all residential sales but not in commercial real estate transactions.
The buyer or seller is the agent’s principal and the agent represents the principal as a fiduciary in the transaction. “Fiduciary” means that the broker is “in a relationship of trust and confidence” with the buyer or seller. Additionally, the duties of a real estate licensee owed to a client who engages the licensee as a single agent include: (1) dealing honestly and fairly; (2) loyalty; (3) confidentiality; (4) obedience; (5) full disclosure; (6) accounting for all funds; (7) skill, care, and diligence in the transaction; (8) presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise in writing; and (9) disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property and are not readily observable.
The duties of a single agent must be fully described and disclosed in writing to a buyer or seller either as a separate disclosure document or included as part of another document such as a listing agreement or other agreement for representation. The disclosure must be made before, or at the time of, entering into a listing agreement or an agreement for representation or before the showing of property, whichever occurs first.
A licensee, at any time during the single agent relationship, may change from a single agent to a transaction broker as long as the principal consents and appropriate disclosures are provided. This may be desired so that the licensee can provide a limited form of representation to both parties.