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What is a Special Agent in Real Estate?

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  • 0:04 Special Agent
  • 0:49 Laws of Agency
  • 1:52 Examples of Special Agents
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tisha Collins Batis

Tisha is a licensed real estate agent in Texas. She holds bachelor's in legal studies and a master's degree in criminal justice.

This lesson defines a special agent in real estate. Additionally, we'll define the laws of agency and compare it with other types of agents. We'll also provide some examples of these concepts.

Special Agent

Katie's mother, Marie, is getting older and having a hard time taking care of herself. She lives alone in the house that Katie grew up in and has been lonely since her husband, Ray, passed away. Katie is starting to worry about her mother, especially since she recently fell and hurt her arm.

After a long talk, Katie and Marie decide that it's time to sell Marie's house. Once it's sold, Marie will move in with Katie. Where do they start? They need to list Marie's home but don't know what type of real estate agent they need. As it turns out, they need a special agent.

In real estate, a special agent is an agent hired to perform a specific duty for a client (also known as a principal). The real estate agent's authority is limited to the specific job for which they are hired.

Laws of Agency

The laws of agency in real estate define the responsibilities, duties, and rights of all legal parties. These laws are important because they come into play when an agency relationship is formed. Without an agency relationship, the laws would be moot. Under the laws of agency, there are three different categories of real estate agents:

  • A special agent in real estate is an agent hired to perform a specific duty for a client. The agent's authority is limited to the specific job for the client. A listing agent hired to sell a client's home is an example of a special agent. The agent only has the authority to act as the client's listing agent; once the home is sold, the relationship between the agent and the client ends.
  • A general agent is an agent who can perform any and all of the acts required for a job or business. When a real estate agent performs property management functions for a client, he or she is acting as that client's general agent.
  • A universal agent is an agent who can perform all actions related to a person or business.

Examples of Special Agents

Let's take a look at two examples of special agents in real estate.

Selling a Home and Buying a New One

Emma is a real estate agent. Recently, she met Macy at an open house. Macy has been going to open houses to find available homes on the market. She currently owns a home and will have to sell it before she can purchase another one.

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