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Dual Agency - What Side of the Fence are You On?

Reblogger Cara Caldwell
Real Estate Agent with Re/Max Communities

In Georgia, we can work both sides, while still representing only the seller.

On our contract be must disclose that we DO represent the seller and we DO NOT represent the buyer. If the buyer does not object, then drive on... Sell the house, do the deal.  All confidences are for the seller in this scenerio.

In the event I happen to have a buyer "client" that has signed an agency agreement with me, and then I so happen to list a property that they would want to buy-- this becomes disclosed dual agency.  In this case it is a tight rope.  I disclose the issue, let the parties decide if another agent is needed. I always tell them that we will appoint someone else, if anyone feels it is necessary,at any point in the transaction. This usually keeps the deal rolling. In 13 years I have NEVER needed another agent. I have always handled these things very openly with full disclosure. 

Original content by Connie Goodrich


McKinney, Texas - overlooking park area


When you list homes and work with buyers the opportunity on occasion will present itself, both sides of the transaction.  Such is the case for me, I have a home listed and received a sign call that developed into an interested buyer.  What a fantastic opportunity but one that needed to be treated with caution.

 In the state of Texas we have the ability to work on both sides of the transaction through what is defined as Intermediary Relationship.  There are many responsibilities of this relationship but one clear defining line; you must act as a mediator for both parties, no advice regarding negotiation decisions.  You also cannot share any confidences and you must respect the price the seller has the home listed with no suggestion of the value being less.  All parties must agree to this relationship and advised of their other representation choices (buyer & seller agents).  

This is a very difficult balance responsibility when you are on both sides of the transaction.  As an agent you have a responsibility to self reflect as to your comfort, knowledge level, ability to strictly adhere to the responsibility of this type of agency.  Also this is probably one of the top reasons lawsuits develop over this form of agency and the perception of how the agent professionally handled the transaction. 

Initially when the opportunity knocks you feel a moment of celebration, commission counting in your head, etc.  Step back and reflect ... are you informed and experienced enough to properly handle this type of transaction?  If there is any moment of a deep breath and hesitation then you best refer one of the parties to be independently represented by another agent.  Make sure both the other agent and the party interview each other for comfort and acceptance.  Sometimes that separation of relationships is absolutely the right thing to do.   Also you need to keep your broker in the loop for counseling, appointment of other agents, etc.

 Understand what your state law allows, what your agency stance for what agency types are permitted and become very well informed and comfortable with your professional responsibilities.  This is a very sensitive and debated topic in our state for a good reason ... watching out for the best for our consumers.

What side of the fence do you feel is best or are you in the middle?