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    What is dual agency in real estate and how does it work. Dual agency has no benefits to buyers and sellers. Find out why!
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What to Know About Dual Agency
 Dual Agency Explained


Unfortunately, in the real estate industry, there are a lot of things that get thrown around by some real estate agents that are so far from the truth. One such subject is dual agency.

What is dual agency and how does it work is a question a lot of people ask Realtors. The problem is many real estate agents sugar coat exactly how it works, just so buyers and sellers don't have a problem with it. This is wrong on so many fronts.

Here is a great quote from a fellow real estate agent, Alan May, who describes dual agency well in his remarks.

"The only one who wins in dual agency is the agent.  If consumers truly understood the dynamics behind dual agency, they would never agree to allow it.  Unfortunately, they don't understand, and the one who's explaining it to them is the agent who will benefit from them saying yes to it."

Dual agency is most often described as one real estate agent who represents both the buyer and the seller in the sale of a home or other real estate.

If you are a potential home buyer or seller reading this, I am going to let you know right away that dual agency is a horrible situation for consumers.

When most buyers or sellers hire a real estate agent, they expect that person to be in their corner fighting hard for their best interests. It's what's know as having a fiduciary.

For example, if you are buying a home an exclusive buyers agent should be able to guide you on what to offer for a home you are interested in purchasing. They should also inform you of anything in the area that could impact the value. One of the buyer's agents roles is to look out for your best interests.

After a home inspection, an exceptional buyer's agent will guide you on what requests of the seller are reasonable and what aren't. The agent is your confidant. Your agent remains your advisor throughout the process all the way to the closing.

From the sellers perspective, you want the same thing from your real estate agent. Someone who will advocate on your best behalf to get you the best terms and conditions. When an offer is submitted on your home, you want your real estate agent to be able to guide you.

How should you respond to the offer? Should a counter offer be given? Are there any unusual terms or dates in the offer?

When the inspection roles around you also want your agent to offer you their years of perspective and guidance.

Would you not agree that from both the buyers and sellers perspective, having someone in your corner is important?

Well, let me be very clear. When you agree to dual agency, you give up all of that! In most states when you allow dual agency your real estate agent becomes a neutral party.

The agent is not allowed to give you guidance. They cannot counsel you. Dual agency is the worst thing that was ever allowed in real estate sales.

As the saying goes, you can't serve two masters when they have conflicting goals.

In some states, dual agency has actually been banned and with good reason. The only person that benefits from dual agency is the real estate agent who earns a double commission.

Of course, there are some real estate agents who don't want to see dual agency taken away. They love the "double sided" deal even though it is a terrible situation for a buyer or seller.

Take a look at the transparency of some real estate agents talking about dual agency over on the Active Rain Real Estate Network. Some of these agents are only concerned about one thing - the loss of their ability to make a double commission.

They could care less that a buyer and seller give up a major reason why many agents are hired to begin with - the ability to get professional advice! I am a staunch defender of getting rid of dual agency. It should be illegal in every state as consumers don't benefit from it.

Many of these agents stand behind the claim that it is legal and they disclose it. WOW that is impressive......snickering loudly.

Practicing Illegal Dual Agency

Even scarier is the fact that many real estate agents have no idea what they can and cannot do when they become a dual agent. There are many real estate agents out there right now who are practicing illegal dual agency!

Instead of following the law and remaining neutral, they are giving each party guidance. It's a close at all cost attitude from some agents. The very reason why there are so many lawsuits when agents participate in a dual agency situation.

Just take a look at some of the knuckle head comments from real estate agents around the country on the subject of dual agency in the article above.

There was one agent who was even so transparent to say that his owner told him it was acceptable to give both the buyer and seller counseling throughout the sale. This is called the blind leading the blind.

It is scary that consumers have to be fooled by this kind of non-sense!

Designated agency is different than dual agency

One thing you should know is that some states consider dual agency to be when two agents from the same company each represent a buyer and seller. In many states, this is referred to as designated agency and not dual agency.

Frankly, this is completely different than single agent dual agency. They are night and day. With designated agency, a buyer has a buyer's agent, and a seller has a seller's agent. Yes the agents are from the same firm but who cares. Each party has representation. Someone is in their corner fighting hard for their best interests.

With dual agency, the agent becomes a neutral party and really represents nobody even though that is not how it's described in many places.

If you are going to be buying or selling a home shortly, do yourself a favor and steer clear of dual agency. There is nothing good that comes out of it.

An agent is required by law to discuss how agency works in their state. They are supposed to clearly explain to you how dual agency works in real estate. Many do not, and that is a shame.

Many will couch it in a way that doesn't paint an accurate picture of dual agency.

Additional helpful articles on dual agency

What is real estate dual agency via Realty Times.
Understand agency laws in real estate via Kevin Vitali.

Use all the above resources to make sound decisions concerning dual agency when buying or selling home.

Don't become the puppet some real estate agents would like you to be and accept dual agency. Just say NO!

About the author:

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people move in and around the Metrowest Massachusetts area for over thirty years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX Realtors in New England for the past decade. In 2016 he was the #3 RE/MAX real estate agent in New England.

Bill has been servicing real estate sales for buyers and sellers in the following Metrowest MA towns for the past three decades: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.

Give Bill a call for superior real estate advice. You will be getting a real estate agent who does not practice dual agency.