If you’ve ever bought or sold real estate in the state of South Carolina, you’ve probably been presented with a document that looks like the one pictured below. This document, which spells out the differences between becoming a customer or a client of a real estate company, can be confusing to some people. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a moment to talk about what it means to be a customer or a client of a real estate agency—because yes, there is a big difference.

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Once you sign a written agency agreement with an agent and their company, you are officially a client. Now your real estate agent has the authority to act on your behalf and promote your best interest. Clients receive many services than customers do, including professional advice, counsel, and assistance in negotiations. In addition, your agent is required by law to provide the following:

  • Obedience
  • Loyalty to the client
  • Disclosure of all known facts
  • Confidentiality
  • Accounting
  • Reasonable care and skill


If you choose not to enter into a written agency agreement, you are a customer of the real estate company. Essentially, as a customer, you represent yourself. Since the agent and company do not represent you, they are not obligated to promote your best interest or keep any bargaining information confidential. The most common example of this is a buyer who chooses not to be represented by an agent. This makes that buyer a customer of the seller’s agent. Obviously, the seller’s agent represents the seller only (unless you sign a written agency agreement with that agent as well), so they have the seller’s best interests at heart. By law, the the agent is only required to provide the following basic duties to a customer:

  • Present all offers in a timely manner
  • Account for money or other property received on your behalf
  • Provide an explanation of the scope of services
  • Be fair and honest and provide accurate information
  • Disclose known adverse material facts about the property

All in all, it’s best to be represented by an agent as a client of the real estate company they work for. If you need a more detailed explanation of the above facts, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime. Our agents are always ready and willing to help by providing our clients with boutique services and attention.


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