Real Estate Agent with Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 CalBRE # 01188158

Dual agency is a fiduciary responsibility that a single brokerage shares with both a buyer and seller.  In other words, the buyers Realtor and the sellers Realtor have their license with the same brokerage.  Now, if they are actually two different Realtors with two different clients, it isn't a problem.  Each Realtor is representing their respective client.

Where it gets dicey is when the same Realtor is representing both the buyer and the seller.  In some states, this is illegal.  In others, such as California, it is legal.  As with all things, this type of dual agency can be done ethically or it can be an unmitigated disaster.

An ethical Realtor will know where the line is drawn and what may and more importantly, may not be shared with their clients.Dual Agency  When they are with their sellers, they will make an argument for a fair price that will satisfy the seller.  They will work diligently to have a fair resolution to repair requests.  In  other words, they put on their "listing agent" hat.  When they are meeting with their buyers, they work towards an offering price that their buyers are comfortable with.  They go over the inspection reports and deduce what items are fair to be on the list of repair items.

Note in all of this, fairness is mandatory.  It does become more difficult when one of the clients or both don't have the sense of fairness that their Realtor does.  In this case, it is incumbent upon the Realtor to do advise their client, but then do as their client asks.  After all, the contract and the request for repairs are agreements between a buyer and seller...not the Realtor or brokerage.

Ethical Realtors can go to great lengths to ensure the correct approach to dual agency.  Sealed envelopes containing all offers can be asked for by the listing Realtor and brought to the seller prior to opening.  If there is any question as to appropriate representation, the Realtor can ask their broker or another Realtor from their brokerage to step in for negotiations. 

It is a fine line, but can be done correctly and result in a great experience for all involved.




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MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Most people are not able to do this well, however my mother was a real estate master at it. 

Jun 04, 2012 04:22 PM #1
Gloria Commiso
Keller Williams - Hermosa Beach, CA
Hermosa Beach

I have a policy against it because i truly believe after the sealed envelopes are open the hard work begins. It is a series of negotiations that i personallly feel its nearly imposssible to be equally fair. It is also the biggest reason why agents are sued. Interesting blog....

Jun 05, 2012 01:21 AM #2
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

Hi Michelle~
Great Realtors can do it and do it well...it sounds like your mother was one fo them.

Hi Gloria~
I agree about the hard work...but I think it starts when the envelopes are opened.  Multiple offers are no picnic.  However, I think it can be done fairly.  The hard part is doning the hat you are wearing and then forgetting everything else.  It is all about discipline and ethics...but it can create a beautiful escrow!

Paula Swayne

Jun 06, 2012 12:57 PM #3
ActiveRain City and State Listing Group
Christiansted, VI

A simple question....if you are being sued, will you hire the same attorney that is representing the suing party? Don't think so.

Would an ethical attorney suggest that it is OK to represent opposing parties...if it is just done "fairly"? Don't think so.

The opportunity to gain double commissions gets in the way of fiduciary thinking, but we keep trying to convince ourselves we are different. Don't think so.

Jun 10, 2012 11:22 PM #4
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

Hi Don~

You are comparing apples to oranges.  Here is the difference, in my humble opinion:  Attorneys representing two different parties are adversarial by nature.  Someone has to win and someone has to lose.  In real estate, we have a seller who wantst to sell and a buyer who wants to buy...it can be a win-win situation...both people can get what they want and be happy about it.

Jun 20, 2012 04:30 AM #5
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Paula Swayne

Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga
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