Anyone in Williamstown or Berkshire County who expects to collect a fee for selling real estate in Massachusetts MUST be Licensed in Massachusetts. A large percentage of real estate licensees are members of the National Association of Realtors (registered trademark), the trade organization of the profession. Only members of the National Association of Realtors and the state and local Boards may participate in Multiple Listing Service and the Information Data Exchange.
Licensees must assist the public in one of the following ways in Massachusetts: Buyer Agency, Seller Agency, or Facilitation. It is very common for clients to sign a working agreement with a licensed real estate agent and under law, licensed real estate agents must provide a disclosure form to members of the public with whom then intend to work upon first meeting to discuss a property or upon first meeting to discuss creating a working relationship.
Agents or those real estate licensees procurred as Buyer's agents or Seller's Agents have a duty of ABSOLUTE faith to the lawful instructions of their Principals (similar to employer in some ways). The licensee must follow strictly the guidance of the client and advocate only for the client's interests above and beyond all others. Creating an agency relationship with a licensee also creates what is called vicarious liability for the principal (you the client). You are responsible by virtue of creating an agency relationship for what your Real Estate Agent does on your behalf. Should your agent inadvertently state a false fact or otherwise perform a misdeed in the transaction then you are responsible for the resulting liability. You may also be responsible for other agents if your own agent assigns "showings" to another agent in the firm during the time you have agreed to agency representation. You should read and understand fully any document your agent asks you to sign. If you are unsure of the liability involved consult with your attorney before signing an agreement.
Facilitation brokerage does not create an "Agency" relationship and thus removes the risk of vicarious liability from the client. In the facilitation brokerage agreement the Real Estate Agent has a duty to treat both parties (buyer and seller) fairly and equally providing complete disclosure to both parties involved in a real estate transaction. The information provided to both parties allows the clients to make decisions based on full and equal disclosure. The real estate agent acting as a facilitator has the same legal obligation to the client in regards to trustworthiness, accountability for all funds, and full disclosure of known facts as any other licensee in the State of Massachusetts.
The majority of buyers and sellers want competent assistance with what is a relatively complex transaction of considerable financial importance in their lives. A seller wants to sell their property for the best price and a buyer wants to buy a property for the best price. Both the buyer and seller are working toward the same goal. A facilitation agreement allows full disclosure to both parties of the same information, requires that the facilitator be neutral in the transaction, and that every effort is made to bring all parties to the closing table in a mutually agreed upon and satisfying price for both seller and buyer. No adversarial activity is required or encouraged in a facilitation transaction, in fact the goal of facilitation is closing the deal with EVERYONE content that the best outcome has been achieved.