A generation ago, real estate brokers probably didn’t drift off to sleep each night dreaming that someday they would be able to work with buyers and sellers in half a dozen different legal relationships.

For most of the last century, the legal relationships between brokers and their clients were simple: Listing brokers represented sellers, and agents who worked with buyers did so as "subagents" of the listing broker. All of the agents involved in a transaction owed their allegiance to the seller, and buyers were unrepresented.

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