“Dual-agency” is when a REALTOR® or a broker is neutral in the sale and purchase of a home. That means the REALTOR® represents neither the buyer nor the seller. I’m writing here to say up front why you should never, ever, agree to be represented by a dual agent, although it is legal in Virginia.
Quite simply “dual agency” is a conflict of interests (sic) for the buyer, seller and the REALTOR®. I refuse to serve as a dual-agent because I feel strongly each party deserves and needs independent advice in what is one of the most important transactions of his/her life. It’s part of my DNA to exclusively represent just one party in each transaction. Read on to understand why.
IMAGE CREDIT: Compass Commercial Real Estate, Bend, OR
Below are excerpts from the text of the “DISCLOSURE OF DUAL AGENCY OR DUAL REPRESENTATION IN A RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION” used in Northern Virginia. After reading them, ask yourself why, with the complex issues that may arise in the purchase or sale of your home, you would ever agree to be write a contract with someone who cannot advise you on what is in your best interest.
Here are excerpts of what you would be agreeing to by signing a form authorizing dual representation by your agent or broker:
- “ ... that the foregoing dual agent or dual representative may not disclose to either client any information that has been given to the dual agent or representative by the other client within the confidence and trust of the brokerage relationship except for that information which is otherwise required or permitted . . . to be disclosed” by the Code of Virginia.
- “That following the commencement of dual agency or representation, the licensee (REALTOR) cannot advise either party as to the terms to offer or accept in any offer or counteroffer; ”
- “ That the licensee cannot advise the buyer/tenant client as to the suitability of the property, its condition . . .and cannot advise either party as to what repairs of the property to make or request;”
- “ That the license cannot advise either party in any dispute that arises relating to the transaction;”
- “That the licensee may be acting without knowledge of the client’s needs, client’s knowledge of the market, or client’s capabilities in dealing with the intricacies of real estate transactions.”
Don’t assume that a broker or agent is obligated to represent your interests, and your interests alone, until you have carefully read the agreement(s) detailing which services are being provided to you.
A quick note about the transaction brokerages that have sprung with via the Web and Internet: they may have no fiduciary relationship to the buyer or seller. It’s not just ‘buyer beware,’ but ‘seller beware’ too – in the same transaction no less!
Whew! Enough of this legal stuff. Happy Home Selling and House Hunting!