Dual Agency in Maryland

Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® MD594797

"Can the agent who is representing the seller also represent the buyer?"

Dual Agency in Maryland is interpreted differently than it is in other states. Here, only the broker (or the broker's designee) can take on the role of a dual agent. An individual Realtor
® cannot represent both, seller and buyer, and can never act as a dual agent. Maryland is an either/or state.

When you walk into an open house, the agent present always represents the seller. While the listing agent can open the door for you and answer a few questions, his/her loyalty lies with the seller and it is his/her duty to act in the seller's best interest.

Thus, if you choose to have the seller's agent "assist" you with a purchase offer, understand that this assistance is very limited. The seller's agent cannot advise you on what price range your offer should fall in nor on any other terms of the contract, e.g. which contingencies to include. 

Considering that you are about to make one of the biggest decisions of your life, having your own representation is in your best interest.

If you choose to hire an agent from the same company as the listing agent, then those agents are referred to as intra-company agents. They are assigned by the broker of the company who acts as the dual agent in this scenario. A Consent For Dual Agency has to be signed by both, the seller and the buyer. If one party refuses then the listing broker can opt to cancel the agreement with the seller in order to represent the buyer, the buyer can choose to receive assistance but no representation or the buyer can hire a Realtor® affiliated with a different company.

Whether you hire your own buyer's agent, have the listing agent "assist" you or consent to Dual Agency, Realtors
® are required to treat all parties fairly and keep confidential information just that, confidential.

Dual Agency in Maryland Cooperating Agents in Maryland


The agent who is representing the seller cannot also represent the buyer. That form of dual agency is prohibited in the State of Maryland. Only the broker or broker's designee (e.g branch manager) can act as a dual agent and assign intra-company agents. A Consent for Dual Agency has to be signed by both, seller and buyer. 


*I am not a lawyer. Legal advice is neither given nor implied. If you are in need of such, contact legal counsel.*

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Thompson Company, REALTORS

16910 Oak Hill Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20905
o: (301) 384-9177 c: (240)593-2860


Andrea is a REALTOR® based in Silver Spring, MD, who has enjoyed assisting buyers and sellers in Montgomery and Howard County, MD (and beyond) for 16+ years now. She always answers the phone with a smile, enjoys running, hiking, and traveling, speaks German, reads a lot, blogs a little, and drinks too much coffee. 


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 Andrea Bedard, Thompson Company, REALTORS: from Just Listed to Just SOLD


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Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

The agent representing the seller cannot also represent the buyer. That form of dual agency is prohibited in the State of Maryland.  Personally, I wish all states would adopt this policy.

Aug 06, 2012 12:31 PM #1
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

We call that "designated" agency when two different agents at the same firm represent buyer and seller and all parties must agree in writing.  Of course agents can do dual agency in my state and they sometimes do, but it is very rare.

Aug 06, 2012 01:30 PM #2
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Joan, even if it wasn't the law in Maryland, I would still follow it. I just don't think one agent can work in the best interest of both parties to the contract. It's either/or in my opinion.

Hi Tammy, it can get quite confusing for people relocating - what you call "designated agency", we call "dual agency" and the "dual agency" allowed in Georgia is prohibited around here.


Aug 06, 2012 01:58 PM #3
Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker
RVA Home Team - Richmond, VA
RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity.

I'm so glad Virginia recently adopted new agency law for buyers...it makes everything a lot less confusing for all parties involved. Good information on Maryland Agency Law.

Aug 07, 2012 04:51 AM #4
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living
Andrea, great explanation of agency in Maryland. The graph really makes things very clear. Of course, Florida is completely different.
Aug 07, 2012 10:12 AM #5
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Shannon, I agree. The assistance part can get tricky though - I choose to not get involved in that either, it's just too fine of a line.

Hi Silvia, thank you, I thought the visual would be helpful in showing the difference at a glance.

Aug 07, 2012 01:24 PM #6
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Andrea, we do practice Dual Agency here in NC and it isn't uncommon at all.  It requires a lot of explanation and the agent must stay on their toes all the time.  Frankly, it is exhausting...but legal.

Aug 09, 2012 12:22 PM #7
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Mona.. and a lot of disclosures I bet. I couldn't imagine and already think that just assisting the other party is walking on very thin ice. But that's after working in Real Estate for 8 years in the State of Maryland - I don't know it any differently.

Aug 09, 2012 02:15 PM #8
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Andrea Bedard

M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond
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