Before I launch into my rant about Dual Agency, I need to do a brief vocabulary lesson:
Listing Agent: The Realtor(R) hired by the SELLER to represent them in a real estate transaction
Buyer’s Agent/Selling Agent: The Realtor(R) hired by the BUYER to represent them in a real estate transaction
Commission: Paid by the SELLER and built into the listing agreement when the seller decides on a list price.
Now, in a regular transaction there are usually 4 parties to a contract: The Seller, The Buyer, The Seller’s Agent (Listing Agent) and the Buyer’s Agent:
- It’s a balanced seesaw. Everyone has fair and equal representation. Everyone’s interests and concerns are heard by their OWN agent.
- Now, take out the buyer’s agent:
- Suddenly the balance has shifted. When the Seller hired the Realtor(R) they signed an agreement that the listing agent WORKS FOR the SELLER. They represent their interests…not yours.
You should know EVERY agent has their own opinion on this subject and can choose to do it, if they wish. It’s completely legal and often very common. I choose not do it for several reasons:
1. Frankly, in a world where someone can sue a company for burns after ordering Hot Coffee and spilling it on herself – I do it as protection, just in case.
2. I think at some point, someone will be unhappy. If your attention is split between parties, especially during negotiations, someone will not be heard. I’ve had a lot of happy customers over the past few years and i’m not sure if I could say that had I been representing both sides.
3. You don’t necessarily get a “better deal” by using the listing agent. When pricing a home, you get an estimate of what it costs to sell your home and part of that is the total commission nugget. More often than not, if an agent is doing both sides they cut their commission for the SELLER – not you as the buyer.
On one of my first dates with my boyfriend, he told me he thought Real Estate Agents were criminals; I don’t blame him as our industry usually has a bad rap. Turns out he had a bad experience with a dual agency situation years back. That explains it.