The subject of dual agents has always been a sensitive one in both the agent and the buyer world. The concept of one agent doing both the selling agent and the buyer’s agent’s jobs and representing both sides honestly and with the best return in mind seems contradictory by definition. However, that brings up the idea that if an agent is already representing clients honestly, where would the problem lie? In some cases, while the listing and selling agents are not the same, they practice under the same broker. Some say that this is also a conflict of interest between clients.
Marilou Ward, Broker at Forward Real Estate, agrees with this way of thinking, saying that being able to juggle the issue “depends on how ethical the agent is.” She goes on to say, though, that she would “avoid it just due to perception.”
While in many states one can be a dual agent, it is not always advised due to the perception of the client and the thought that he or she may not be getting the best deal if the agent or broker also represents the opposite side.
Monica Barkley, Broker of RE/ MAX of Santa Clarita Valley, says that in her experience, most who accept dual agents are less likely to “act fair and honestly,” and that most times, the transaction is “not in the best interest of the seller.”
However, some agents such as William Grant, Managing Agent at Five Star Realty, says the practice can be done honestly and legitimately on both sides. He explains that most buyers go online first to find their new home, and this has on occasion led to showing his own listings. He says that “Today’s buyers have more information than they did years ago. They have a good idea of value and of what they are looking at and are more concerned with getting the home they want.”
No matter which side agents take, they all agree that when practicing dual representation, it is imperative that agents are completely honest and forthcoming at every point, including being clear and explanatory about the dual representation. This will help the buyer and the seller feel more comfortable in the situation and
help cover the agent in case of issues down the road.