Dual agency is legal in Washington, but I strongly believe there is a huge conflict of interest when an agent tells his selling client, “I promise to get you the highest possible price,” while also telling his buying client, “I promise to get you the lowest possible price.”
Imagine what a listing agent does for a seller. He or she has worked with a seller for six months to one year to list and market a property, with many many hours of paperwork, planning, writing ads, posting listings, meeting with the seller many times and having phone calls weekly, emailing and talking with prospective buyers, spending numerous hours behind the scenes, encouraging the seller and building an emotional bond, and who has committed his or her best efforts to get the highest possible price from any buyer who does show up.
Now imagine a buyer who drops into town and who calls that listing agent to drive around and look at homes for one afternoon. How can we honestly suggest the agent can fairly represent both the buyer and seller without bias?
Do professional athletes have dual agents? Not a chance.
I did a very short video on this at: Dual Agency Wrong
For an interesting debate on dual agency by real estate agents across the country, take a look at this article, Right or Wrong: Dual Agency.
Last Updated on September 2, 2019 by Chuck Marunde
This is not acceptable in many states and I would like to know how legislators can justify dual agency. I would not never use a dual agent. Why wouldn’t a person, once they understand this, use a buyer’s agent if they are buying? It seems like a no brainer.
Even if it is allowed, it should not be practiced!! How could you possibly have both party’s interest in mind?
Not everything “allowed” is ethical. I would rather answer to a higher code.
Thanks for the post….appreciate it very much!!!
I agree that it is a large conflict of interest. It is like hiring an attorney to represent both the husband and wife in a divorce. There is no way that both parties will be able to be represented in the best way possible.
It’s about the money and keeping the commissions in house. While I believe a client would/should run from such an arraingment I don’t see it as being a legal issue… more one of common sense and ethics. The latest thing here is holding potential buyers hostage to specific lenders. Can’t even make an offer on many homes unless you go through a preferred lender. And this in a foreclosure market. Seems that some people have lost touch with the fact that buyers and sellers are real people who are not just in business to feed their commissions.
Such a touchy subject. I agree keeping the monies all under one roof, but it would take a highly ethical agent to represent both the buyer and the seller. I don’t think I would personally want to be in that position; on one hand you want your client selling to get the highest price possible, but on the other, your buyer needs you to work hard to get the best deal possible. Recipe for disaster in my opinion.
Thanks for the stimulating conversation…really liked this topic.
Yeah definitely a clash of fudiciary interests here. I can see why it’s illegal. Like PA said, there’s no way both agents could be holding the best interests of the client. What is surprising is why a client would want to do this in the first place. It just cries for malpractice.
This issue of dual agency really hit me recently when I learned about how agency really works. I thought if I hired an agent, the agent always looks out for my interests, but now I realize what should have been obvious to me before. If I hire the listing agent on a house to represent me as a buyer, he is a dual agent, and after thinking this through, it now seems so obvious to me that he can only represent one part at a time. As you said so clearly, how can an agent promise the seller the highest price while at the same time promising the buyer of that house the lowest price? I honestly don’t think most buyers think this through.
Right on! Dual agency is a real issue to watch out for. My husband and I hired an agent and did not realize the implications at the time of a listing agent also representing us as buyers. We found out the hard way, but that’s a long story.