Is the Listing Agent the Best One to Show the House?

Real Estate Agent with Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group S44645

It is not the first time that I have thought about this.  I am not in the practice of performing dual agency, even though it is allowed in Iowa.  In fact, I have sold over 200 homes in the last 15 years and I have only acted as a dual agent less than ten times!  

Since I rarely host open houses on my own listings, I have been able to avoid putting myself in a dual agent position.  For those of you that might not understand what a dual agent is and how it is your crash course!


A dual agent is where the agent represents both the listing side (seller) and the buying side (buyer) at the same time.  It is required that this type of agency be disclosed and accepted in writing by both parties. In some cases, the agent may have known the buyer for longer than the seller.  In other cases, the listing preceded meeting the buyer such as an internet lead from Zillow or someone that visited an open house.  In my case, I rarely host an open house on my own listings to avoid putting myself in that position.  I represent the seller first!  

fish biting on a hook

But in a few occurences, I have found that because I know more about the house and the neighborhood due to my pre-listing research, I AM the best agent to show the house.  But as a dual agent, my role is limited on both sides.  I cannot provide advice for either side at the detriment of the other. Because as an agent, my seller is owed reasonable confidentiality.  But the buyer is also due full disclosure.  As a dual agent, my role is limited to material facts and information that guides both sides to an agreement.  So when it goes well, it is great.  But if there is an issue with an inspection, the questions from both sides becomes "Who do you really represent?  Whose side are you really on?"  And the answer is that I am Switzerland, ie I am neutral.  I want what is best and fair to both sides.  Which can be perceived as choosing sides in the end.


Most buyers and sellers that have been in a dual agency situation in the past will swear to not make that "mistake" again.  Perhaps, they felt unrepresented or not treated fairly.  Or they did not like that their agent could not give them their opinion regarding pricing or offers or inspection negotiations.  


But there are many buyers that call the listing agent for the property that they want to see, not realizing that the listing agent may not be the best one for the buyers to enlist for their search.  I met a new buyer client today after they contacted me from Zillow about my listing.  There have been many showings on my listing, but no offers or real interest.  I needed to be able to provide a better insight into what buyers were thinking about the house.  I found out a lot today.  And in the process of explaining agency and dual agency, I also gained a buyer that trusts me and asked me to show them other homes.  For now, my listing is still in the running, but the buyer understands that should they decide to offer on my listing, I will refer them to another agent in my office to ensure that they receive the representation that they deserve.  But that is just the way that I have done business in the last 14+ years.  I would rather pay another agent to represent the buyer than to feel anxious the entire transaction. 


Not all agents feel that fact, many agents prefer dual agency.  They like the control over the entire transaction and like being able to know everything about both sides. And the fact that the compensation doubles probably doesn't hurt. The risk of something going wrong is outweighed by all of the positives for these agents. 


Please contact me if you have any questions regarding your representation.  I believe that sole representation is the best situation for both buyers and sellers when at all possible.  


Keep smiling!





Posted by


Karen Feltman, REALTOR®, ABR, AHS, CHMS,                                                                      CNE,CRS, e-Pro, green, GRI, SRES, TRC

Keller Williams Legacy Group

4850 Armar Drive SE Ste B

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403


Mobile  319-521-0701

Licensed in the State of Iowa

© 2010-2018 by Karen Feltman, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Relocation Specialist 


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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Karen. I think this has less to do with dual agency and more to do with convenience and ease.

Sep 09, 2018 09:11 AM #1
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Afternoon Karen.

I've had buyers who will not talk to anyone but the listing agent.   On the other hand dual agency is alive and well in my area

Sep 09, 2018 11:36 AM #2
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

All I can say about this it's a BIG Maybe...depends so much on the house...we had one that had an elevator...but the door looked like a closet door...sometimes a listing agent can be helpful...and sometimes...not soooo much !

Sep 11, 2018 02:40 PM #3
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Karen, I don’t like dual agency! It is allowed in NC, in fact if I have a buyer for another agent’slisting in our office it is considered dual agency. We have what is known as a designated agency, which means if the seller allows we can have the listing agent designated to represent the seller and another agent the buyer! I will not do dual on any listing I take. I just take a referral from another agent!

Oct 15, 2018 07:24 PM #4
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Karen Feltman

Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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