One of the tenets of real estate law is the requirement of proper disclosure. To that end, it is imperative that one identify their agent as a “Sellers” agent or a “Buyers” agent. I wanted to break these down with a level of simplicity that you can understand and explain in a short amount of time.
By definition, a sellers agent represents the seller and the buyers agent represent the prospective buyers. Simple enough until you hear the term “Dual Agent”. Dual agency can occur in two ways. The first way is if both agents are represented by the same brokerage. In other words, both agents are representatives of Real Estate One. This can be a common occurrence.
The second form of dual agency is when an individual agent represents both the buyer and seller. This is not as common and has the tendency to become problematic.
When a client enters into an agency contract with a real estate agent, they are pledging to work exclusively with that agent until completion of the agreement either by execution of a sale or a specific time limit. In turn, the agent pledges to work on behalf of the client, in the client’s best interest under the same parameters.
This agreement has the effect of chess pieces, where a Knight has the sole responsibility of protecting the King or Queen.
If an agent takes on the role of an agent for both the buyer and seller, a conflict arises. It is impossible to negotiate a final agreement that is in the best interest of both parties. One client may request more money, where the other may object and want to pay less. The agent is placed in the position of trying to decide which offer will be accepted and that offer may not be in the best interest of any of the parties with the exception of the agent. You can imagine a Defense Lawyer and a Prosecutor arguing the same case before the judge.
In the event that both the buyer and seller have come to an agreement without the assistance of an agent, it is always my recommendation to utilize an agent as a transaction coordinator to remove any conflict of interest.
If you have any questions regarding dual agency, feel free to drop me a line!