Do you DUAL?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker, Triad REALTORS

Discussing Dual Agency in real estate it is almost as taboo as bringing up politics or religion to a seller. Everyone has an opinion and most agents feel very strong about the position they hold as an agent. So what is the big deal?

Deciding to be a DUAL AGENT is a choice. I am writing this from the perspective of my specialty. I consider myself a strong sellers agent and I offer professional marketing services to get homes sold at top dollar! Once upon a time I practiced DUAL Agency.

For those reading this I should make clear the options you have when buying in NC. In 1995 Agency Law established Buyers Agents, Sellers Agents and Dual Agents. In a nutshell, A DUAL agent is the agent on both sides of the transaction and the agent is representing both the buyer and the seller.

My personal opinion is this: NO WAY can I get a buyer a home for the bottom dollar or the seller the top dollar when representing both. It is like trying to be married to two people and it just does not work! I can hear it now...YES IT CAN...Well maybe you are correct to some degree. It can work because it does all the time. The fact is this: A home will sell for what a buyer wants to pay and what a seller is willing to sell for. As a dual agent you can be honest, fair and do your job. You can communicate and make all parties happy! Everything can be super fine UNTIL. You got it! It is the UNTIL that becomes a problem. I tell you this because from 1995 - 1999 I DID practice DUAL AGENCY and I felt like I did a super job and so did many of my clients...UNTIL.

I sold a new home in a new community. The lot was flagged with surveyors tape and I stood on the deck with my buyers looking at the woods behind the home. Of course, at some point the lot behind them would be bought and a new home would be built there. NO BIG DEAL - we could see the flags and we had a foundation survey to look at. The buyer signed a waiver to not have a new survey done. We closed. I represented the builder and the buyer and was a great DUAL AGENT. I was paid 5% on the new home closing and life went on...UNTIL.

Two years after this closing the buyer called me. He asked me to come over and meet with him and his wife. I did. We walked out the back door and I could see the new home sitting behind his property. The new home was not the problem, however, the owners of the new home HAD put a small dog lot on the back corner of the lot they owned. The dog lot was sitting 11' from my buyers deck. How in the world was it so close? I recalled tree's with flags marking the lot and they were more like 30' away from this deck. The buyer showed me a new survey that he had and what he owned was his lot, his home of course and his LITTLE backyard that was only 10' deep. It was sitting on the back lot line just enough to meet code. The tree's that were marked the day we stood on the deck were trees that were flagged from the buyer of the other lot (tree's they wanted to keep!) -

The buyer was unhappy. Thank goodness not with me. He recalled that I requested him to get the survey to verify the lot lines. NEVER ASSUME anything was a rule my broker repeated at least daily! The buyer was getting an attorney and was going to sue the seller. I left the home that day SICK! I had pulled the file and knew that I had been a DUAL agent. WHO would I represent? Who would I protect? Who was I really working for in the transaction?

The buyer did not sue. The neighbor moved his fence to give the buyer a feeling of more privacy...However, he still only owns 10' of his back yard that he thought was more like 30' deep. I vowed after this situation that I would never put myself in the position of having to ask "WHO AM I REPRENTING?" So, now all listings that I take I make it very clear that I do sell many of my own listings. I do show my own listings, However, I am ALWAYS A SELLERS AGENT when my listings are invloved. Yes, I still will be a buyers agent but on homes that are not my personal listings. My office will also do Designated Dual Agency and under those terms another agent in my office may have a buyer for my listing. I represent my seller and they represent the buyer! We are designated in whom we PROTECT and SERVE!

HERE THIS LOUD AND CLEAR: You can show your own listings and sell your own listings as a sellers agent. You can make the full commission. In NC - if a buyer is new to the area or if they have never bought a home it is the RE LAW that the buyer have a buyers agent.

I also find my focus as a great listing tool to be straight across the board in how we stand on this issue. I also sleep much better at night knowing I am doing the best thing to be married to just one client in a closing transaction! The bottom line question is IF you had to go to court...what side of the room would you be standing on?


Never tell an agent information as to your max price until you are working with a buyers agent.

Interview agents until you find one that you are very comfortable with and trust.

ASK FOR references including the phone number of the agents last 5 buyers or sellers.

READ AGENCY forms and ask questions!

Liz Small is a National Top Producing agent with Coldwell Banker TRIAD and has been ranked #51 in the Nation for listings sold. Liz has closed over 15o units in a single year alone and Liz knows real estate in Alamance County, Eastern Guilford County and she also serves Brunswick County Beaches! Elizabeth Ward Small is also a National Motivational Speaker and travels all over the USA training agents to be the best agents they can be - see for more details on her speaking.








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