What is Sub-agent?

Legal Definition
Sub-agent (Sub-agency) is a real estate term in the United States and Canada describing the relationship which a real estate broker and his/her agents have with a buyer of a business, home, or property.

Lasting until the early 1990s, the broker provided a conventional full-service, commission-based brokerage relationship under a signed listing agreement only with a seller, thus creating an agency relationship with fiduciary obligations under common law in most of the US and Canada. The seller was then a client of the broker.

However, no such agency relationship existed with the buyer, and the broker's agents helped the buyer (who was typically known as his or her "customer"). In this situation, during the entire period in which the buyer looked at properties, entered into a real estate contract, and finally closed on one, that broker/agent functioned solely as the sub-agent of the seller’s broker.

Some clear disadvantages exist for the buyer under sub-agency. There is no obligation to obtain the best price or terms for the buyer, since the broker, as sub-agent, was obligated to obtain the best terms for the seller, generally someone who he/she had never met and with whom no direct business relationship existed. Many states, notably Florida and Colorado, have abolished sub-agency in favor of written Buyer Brokerage Agreements or the creation of Transaction Brokerage.

It was only with the advent of Buyer brokerage in the 1990s - the legal representation of a buyer by a broker - that a buyer became a client of the broker and entered into the same fiduciary relationship enjoyed by the seller.

In the Philippines, a Sub-Agent is someone who is under the supervision and operational control of a Real Estate Broker. The Sub-Agent is not an agent of the Buyer or Seller. It is the Broker who is the Agent of the Buyer or Seller. The Sub-Agent is an agent of the Broker, works for the Broker, and represents the interest of the Broker. The formal position of a Sub-Agent in the hierarchy of real estate practitioners in the Philippines is equivalent to the rank of Salesperson. A Salesperson is described in Section 3 and Section 31 of the Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines (Republic Act 9646).
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A person appointed by an agent to perform some duty, or the whole of the business relating to his agency.

2. Sub-agents may be considered in two points of view. 1. With regard to their rights and duties or obligations, towards their immediate employers. 2. As to their rights and obligations towards their superior or real principals.

3. - 1. A sub-agent is generally invested with the same rights, and incurs the same liabilities in regard to his immediate employers, as if he were the sole and real principal. To this general rule there are some exceptions for example, where by the general usage of trade or the agreement of the parties, sub-agents are ordinarily or necessarily employed, to accomplish the ends of the agency, there, if the agency is avowed, and the credit is exelusively given to the principal, the intermediate agent may be entirely exempted from all liability to the sub-agent. The agent, however, will be liable to the sub-agent, unless such exclusive credit has been given, although the real principal or superior may also be liable. Story on Ag. §386; Paley on Ag. by Lloyd, 49. When the agent employs a sub-agent to do the whole, or any part of the business of the agency, without the knowledge or consent of his principal, either express or implied, the latter will only be entitled to recover from his immediate employer, and his sole responsibility is also to him. In this case the superior or real principal is not responsible to the sub-agent, because there is no privity between them. Story on Ag. §13, 14, 15, 217, 387.

4. - 2. Where by an express or implied agreement of the parties, or by the usages of trade, a sub-agent is to be employed, a privity exists between the principal and the sub-agent, and the latter may justly maintain his claim for compensation, both against the principal and his immediate employer, unless exclusive credit is given to one of them; and, in that case, his remedy is limited to that party. 1 Liv. on Ag. 64; 6 Taunt. R. 147.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
An under-agent; a substituted agent; an agent appointed by one who is himself an agent. 2 Kent, Comm. 633.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
An agent who reports to another agent and not directly to the company.