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What is Dual Agency?

Dual agency situations occur when a Realtor is representing both the buyer and seller in the same transaction. The agent has promised confidentiality, loyalty and full disclosure to each party, and in a dual agency situation, the Realtor simply cannot fully represent each client's interests. However, if both parties have trust in the Realtor, dual agency can be used as a tool to expedite a transaction. Unfortunately, truly smooth real estate transactions often do not occur, and a Realtor's lack of ability to help in negotiations and advising a client makes a dual agency situation extremely complicated for any Realtor that is truly looking out for their client's best interests.

There are several situations in which you may be confronted with a dual agency situation:

  1. You have been working with a Realtor for a long time. They are concurrently working with a seller whose house they have listed. As luck would have it, you look at that house and realize that it's the house you want.
  2. You walk into an open house that is being hosted by a seller's Realtor. You are currently not working with an agent, but want to immediately make an offer because you fall in love with the house.
  3. You see a house that you like as you are driving along. You call the Realtor that you see on the sign, since you are not currently working with a Realtor of your own. That Realtor shows you the home, and perhaps some other homes, and you decide that you like that original home that you saw first.
In each preceding example, the agent will now be representing both parties in the transaction, pending both parties' signatures. Both parties have to consent in writing before receiving an offer. If one refuses, the Realtor will refer that client to another agent.

The Realtor is limited to performing the following duties in a dual agency situation:

  • The Agent will deal with the Buyer and the Seller impartially
  • The Agent will have a duty of disclosure to both the Buyer and the Seller
  • The Agent will not disclose that the Buyer is willing to pay a price or agree to terms other than those contained in the Offer, or that the Seller is willing to accept a price or terms other than those contained in the Listing
  • The Agent will not disclose the motivation of the Buyer or the Seller to sell unless authorized by the Buyer or the Seller
  • The Agent will not disclose personal information about either the Buyer or the Seller unless authorized in writing
  • The Agent will disclose to the Buyer the defects about the physical condition of the Property known to the Agent
If you have any questions about Dual Agency and what it means to you, please contact me!