What is dual agency?
In a standard real estate transaction, there is a buyer’s agent that represents the buyer and a listing agent that represents the seller. In real estate, dual agency is a situation in which a real estate agent simultaneously represents the buyer and the seller. Most people understand the benefits of hiring a real estate agent. You get professional representation in fighting for your best interest when helping you meet your real estate goals. However, when you hear the term dual agent (also known as a transaction broker), they are essentially representing both the buyer and the seller. Several situations can arise where you find yourself in a dual agency relationship.
1.) Listing agent and the buyers agent work for the same brokerage
For example, Debbie works for John Smith brokerage and lists a home on Main Street. Another agent, Harry, also works for John Smith brokerage and represents a buyer in the Main Street transaction. The brokerage benefits from both ends of the deal and is therefore a dual agency.
2.) Your listing agent finds you a buyer but is also hired to sell the buyers home.
Your real estate agent is responsible for marketing your home to the public. This means they have the opportunity to find a buyer for your home. As you know, buyers who currently own a home will often enlist the help of a real estate agent to sell it before purchasing a new home. In this circumstance, the seller’s listing agent may find a buyer for your home who also needs to sell their own home. If the buyer hires your listing agent to sell their existing home so that they can then buy yours, a dual agency relationship is established.
3.) Buying a home listed by your real estate agent
You fall in love with a home, it has every item on your list and the location is perfect. Then, you see the home is listed by your current real estate agent. This establishes a dual agency relationship. Typically, this is more common in smaller communities where there may be fewer agents to work with overall.
4.) Unrepresented buyer approaches your agent
Let’s say your listing agent hosts an open house to show potential buyers your home in person. An interested person comes by and does not have a real estate agent. This often results in that party hiring your real estate agent to represent them in the transaction.
Communication in Dual Agency
Dual agency is one real estate agent or a brokerage that is representing the buyer and seller. Thus, the agent doesn’t need to get held up by communication between separate parties. Streamlined communication creates a smoother transaction because one agent is in charge of both sides of the process. This includes the paperwork, schedules and deadlines. Transactions can be compromised by an agent on another side that isn’t punctual with their responses. Avoiding this is one if the biggest perks to dual agency.
Pros and Cons of Dual Agency
Like anything, being represented in a dual agency relationship in your real estate transaction has its pros and cons. These are a few points to consider when determining if dual agency is right for you.
- Full disclosure: You will always know if you are entering a dual agency relationship with your real estate agent. By law, it must be fully disclosed to both the buyer and the seller.
- Access to more buyers: When selling your home, a dual agency agreement can give you access to more buyers than if you declined the ability to fall into a dual agency agreement. For example, dual agency can happen when there are two different agents working for the same brokerage. So, the option of dual agency ensures that your agents’ co-workers could send buyers to your home. In declining dual agency as an option, you limit your buyer reach. This is because your agents’ co-workers are no longer able to show your property to their pool of buyers.
- Save money: In a traditional real estate transaction, a home seller pays a commission to their listing agent. The listing agent then splits the commission with the buyer’s agent. In dual agency, that agent is usually the same person and negotiating the commission fee might be easier to do. In theory, there is less time spent on the transaction so you can argue the agent should make slightly less. Additionally, there are several companies that allow clients to pay less commission or simply a flat fee to sell their home. Trelora, modern discount real estate, being one of them. This can save a substantial amount of money on the transaction, regardless of whether a dual agency relationship is established.
- Less advice: A dual agency relationship presents a potential conflict of interest situation. The agent can’t really take one side or give advice to another. This is because they are representing the seller, who wants to get as high of a price as possible, while their other client, the buyer, wants to pay as little as possible. Rather, the agent in a dual agency relationship simply mediates the transaction.
- Attention to detail: When there is only one agent representing an entire transaction, there are more chances of them overlooking something that might be important. This also presents a situation where there are no checks and balances. It’s always better to have multiple professionals’ eyes on the transaction ensuring that everything is going smoothly.
- Confusion: First time home buyers or sellers will not get as much advice as you would in a standard real estate agent relationship. Often, this causes confusion to people new to real estate. Due to the established laws and potential conflict of interest that can occur in a dual agency agreement.
Is Dual Agency the Right Choice for You?
As with anything, there are pros and cons to allowing a dual agency relationship to be involved in your real estate transaction. It’s best to be informed and consider how this scenario can negatively or positively impact the outcome of your next real estate transaction. Ultimately, if you are considering dual agency as a way to save money on real estate commissions, or ensure consistent communication, there are other options available to you.
Consider Trelora, our team of expert agents have closed hundreds of deals, so they’ve seen it all and are ready to advocate for you. Plus, buyer’s who purchase a home with Trelora receive up to $6,000 cash back. That could pay your new mortgage for a few months, or cover renovations in your new place!