Team vs. Dual Agent
Clients often ask us, “why did form a team instead of just doing everything yourself?” In the beginning of Rosie’s 25 year career she did it all! She chose to form a team for several reasons such as being able to help more people, growing the business, streamlining the process and also ethical representation for her clients on both the buying and selling sides. In this blog we are going to focus on the latter…
What is a dual agent?
A dual agent is when a real estate agent works with the buyer and the seller on the same transaction simultaneously. Here’s a common scenario when dual agency may occur:
A real estate agent is hired to sell the home of a client named Mary. That real estate agent has a second client, named Rob, who is in the market to buy a home. Rob tours Mary’s home and decides he wants to purchase the home. Because both Rob and Mary are clients of the same real estate agent, the transaction is considered an example of dual agency.
Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? WRONG! It can muddy the waters because it creates a huge Conflict of Interest. When a real estate agent represents a seller, they are supposed to obtain the highest possible price for their seller with the least amount of contingencies. Similarly, when an agent represents a buyer, they are supposed to help them get the lowest possible price while making them feel comfortable with the condition of the home, usually through an inspection. However, if the same agent is representing both the buyer and the seller, getting the client the best price becomes extremely difficult. If the real estate agent is selling a home that is overpriced, they cannot disclose that to the buyer because they are going against their loyalty to their seller. However, they are also doing a disservice to their buyer because they are knowingly selling an overpriced home and are unable to advise the buyer against purchasing it out of loyalty to the seller. Without realizing it, the agent may also favor one side of the party a bit more than the other, depending on how long the real estate agent has known the buyer/seller, personal relationships, etc. This may be completely unintentional but can happen without the real estate agent realizing it.
A dual agent is more likely to overlook important details as well! Being a dual agent is extremely stressful and puts the real estate agent in a precarious situation. Managing both a buyer and a seller on the same transaction simultaneously may lead the real estate agent to mix up certain documents or miss important information altogether without meaning to do so. They also have the inability to negotiate price or inspection issues. In dual agency, the real estate agent is working in the best interests of both the buyer and the seller, making negotiations tricky. In a standard transaction scenario where a buyer’s agent and seller’s agent are both involved, the seller’s agent will advocate on the seller’s behalf to ensure the seller does not have to pay excessive repair costs if an inspection report comes back with several issues. The buyer’s agent will do the same for their buyer, negotiating that the repairs are taken care of or the buyer is credited in some way for excessive repair costs. However, this is difficult to do as a dual agent because the real estate agent’s interest is divided equally between the buyer and seller.
For the reasons outlined above, this is why we formed a team. An ethically-minded real estate agent always puts their clients’ needs first, even if that means giving up a larger commission. We have buyer’s agents who work exclusively with our buyers and seller’s agents who work exclusively with our sellers. As listing agent Melissa Hudson always says, “it’s like church and state”, meaning we as a team keep everything separate to protect the clients. This is the way we have chosen to do business and it must be working, we are the top real estate team in the King County area and top 1% nationwide! It pays to put your clients first!