According to conventional wisdom, you should always hire a real estate agent when you’re trying to buy a house. The broker’s market expertise will help you decide what moves to make and what price to pay. Because the seller usually has his own broker, the motto “fight fire with fire” applies as well. Perhaps most important, home buyers don’t even have to pay their brokers; the seller’s broker splits the commission with your agent. Hiring a buy-side broker splits the commission with your agent.
Three ways in which agents may differ from their principals. First, the agents may have different preferences from their principal, such as willingness to work. Second, agents may have different incentives from the principal. Agents may have a different stake in the outcome or may receive different rewards than the principal. Third, agents may have information that is unavailable to the principal, or vice versa. These types of divergences may give rise to problems relating to monitoring, incentives, coordination, and strategy. (Michael L. Moffitt and Robert C. Bordone, eds., Handbook of Dispute Resolution [Program on Negotiation/Jossey-Bass, 2005], 190)
The following items are tagged principal-agent theory.
A person who acts on a principal’s behalf in a negotiation. Agents – such as lawyers, sports agents, or diplomats – may have special training or be able to assert the principal’s interests more effectively than the principal. (Michael L. Moffitt and Robert C. Bordone, eds., Handbook of Dispute Resolution [Program on Negotiation/Jossey-Bass, 2005], 189).