Can you imagine a lawsuit where the attorney stands up and presents your case in court, then moves to the other side of the courtroom and argues against your position while representing the person you are suing. Ridiculous, you say ..........but it happens every day in real estate sales. I am continually bothered by the practice of “dual agency” in real estate sales. A dual agency occurs when one agent represents both the buyer and the seller. Or actually, the same firm represents both parties. The problem is the agent has an inherent conflict of interest. When you are acting as an agent, you have a legal duty to put the client’s interest above your own. You are an advocate, not a facilitator. Rather than a passive bystander or some type coordinator, making the transaction work, you are supposed to be an advocate for your client. So, if you are representing both the buyer and the seller, you can’t advocate for both parties. For example, the seller wants the highest possible price, while a buyer wants the lowest price. The seller wants no repairs, while the buyer wants a perfect house, etc, etc, etc. In these case, which client does the dual agent beat up in their negotiating? In practice, most agents try to mollify each side without really advocating for either one.
This might upset a lot of real estate agents but here is my 2 cents worth. If you walk into an open house, understand that that agent is representing the seller. 99% of the time, a buyer is best served by finding another agent to represent them exclusively.