Is a buyer's agent required in South Carolina?

7 Replies

I am attempting to purchase a property in SC.  It's my first foray into that state.  The listing agent is telling me SC law requires me to be represented by a real estate agent and that my offer to purchase must come from my agent and not directly from me.  Does anyone know this to be true?

Unless the agent is willing, and allowed by law, to represent both sides (dual agent), then yes.  Don't fight it, a local agent will know local customs, etc.

Not true.  We make offers directly to listing agents several times per week.

Hey Rick, i am a realtor in upstate SC and NO you do not need an agent to present offers. If you decide to go that route then you will be considered a customer and any agent you dealing with will be representing the seller whether or not they are the listing agent.

I think the agent was trying to say that in SC an AGENT must represent a client in a transaction, but you as an individual does not need and agent to represent you.

In most jurisdictions, a buyer going directly to a listing agent, by default that buyer becomes represented by that agent...dual agency. Some agents may refuse to do this, for a variety of reasons, so the buyer would need to find/use an agent. Usually an REO listing agent will refer you to another agent in their office, or on their team.

One of the reasons we started our on brokerage is that a lot of the agencies representing REO's will not work with an individual presenting offers. Legally they can but the biggest players in our area (Upstate) will not.

Exactly. As I said above "if the agent is willing". The OP didn't specify, but I'm guessing he's offering on a REO. Most banks don't want their listing agents representing both sides, and collecting a double commission on them, to avod any conflicts of interest on the agent's part.

In SC the listing agent represents the seller and the sellers best interest. If they also work with the buyer, its considered dual agency and limits the level of service to the buyer. A buyers agent only represents the buyers best interest in the transaction and can offer a higher level of service with a responsibility to the buyer. If a buyer doesn't have an agent, they are a customer and not a client. Some agents feel it is a conflict of interest to represent both sides. The buyers agent is normally paid a commission out of the transaction, which is a sellers cost. 

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