Buying or selling a property is a major undertaking. There’s a lot of money at stake, and you’ll have to go through a number of rigorous stages before signing on the contractual line. A real estate agent may guide you through the process, but are you comfortable if they take a hands-off approach?
That is frequently the case in a dual agency arrangement, in which one real estate agent serves both buyers and sellers. Before determining whether or not to sign into a dual agency arrangement, it’s a good idea to grasp the knowledge of what it means to be a dual agent, how the process of dual agency works, and its advantages and disadvantages.
|Who Is A Dual Agent?|
While the word “dual agent” seems like something out of a James Bond movie, it really denotes something a little less thrilling.
Simply put, a dual agent is a real estate agent who serves both the sellers and buyers in a real estate deal. It’s far more customary to have separate real estate agents represent the buyer and seller since this helps eliminate a conflict of interest.
Whenever the same real estate agent serves both the sellers and buyers in a real estate deal, this is referred to as a dual agency. It can also happen when the same real estate business serves both the landlord and the renter, or when a single agent serves both the parties in a buy and sell or renting deal. Contrary to this concept is a single agency where an agent represents only one party and the opposite party is represented by a separate agent who works for a different firm. The single agency enables an agent to work in the best interests of their client without conflict.
In a perfect scenario, here’s how dual agency works. When a person employs a real estate agent, they have the option of working with a dual agent if they thoroughly grasp the benefits and drawbacks of doing so. Any customer who indicates they’re okay with a dual agency is asked to sign an official declaration from the state department of real estate.
Unfortunately, such disclosures are not required in many states at the start of an agent-client engagement. Even when they do, these forms aren’t usually written in simple language that’s easy to grasp or read.
While the dual agency can be ethical if the dual agent runs the process well, the more crucial concern is whether it is lawful. The answer to that query is dependent on your location. In certain states, dual agency is unlawful. Even if both the buyer and seller desire to deal with a dual agency, they are not permitted to do so in the following states:
If dual agency is not legal in your state, your real estate agent is unlikely to suggest it. If they do, this is a major red flag, and you should reassess your connection with them. Even if your state enables dual agency, the process is usually subject to limitations. In the case that the potential for dual agency arises, both the buyer and seller must provide written authorization to the real estate agent to proceed. Dual agency cannot exist without the assent of both parties.
Some real estate experts and consumer activists advise against considering dual agencies. They wonder if a dual agent can actually be neutral when mediating a transaction in which they serve both the sellers and buyers. This is mostly due to the seller’s desire to sell their house for the greatest possible price, while the buyer desires to pay the lowest feasible amount.
According to other real estate brokers, dual agency is not an issue and may even assist both parties by speeding up interactions and assisting the deal to close faster. However, there are a few more considerations to consider.
Dual agency can be impossible to prevent if:
Hundreds of agents work in the same region for a huge real estate company.
There are few agents in a limited area.
Dual agency can sometimes occur without the buyer’s knowledge:
Listings on the internet:
You’re looking for a home online and come across one that piques your attention. The listing includes contact information for a real estate agent. If you phone them instead of letting your own agent (who works for a separate organization) contact them, you may end yourself in a dual agency position.
A public open house:
The seller’s agent will be represented by the agent hosting the open house. They’ll also have a sign-in page where guests interested in buying a property may leave their names and phone numbers. If a guest wants to purchase the open house property and has a strong relationship with the listing agent, they may wish to employ them without considering the possible drawbacks.
When you go to the sales office to acquire a new construction house, you will be speaking with agents that represent the seller (the builder). Prospective purchasers may not be aware of this connection. When purchasing new construction, savvy purchasers will engage a single agent to represent them, but many buyers are unaware of this alternative.
State regulations governing when agents must disclose dual agency and whether they must do so orally or in writing might leave property buyers and sellers in the dark. Furthermore, certain agents may disregard the regulations.
To reduce the chance of concealed dual agency, ask your agent as soon as possible if they will be operating only for you as a single operator or whether they are working, or maybe working, as a dual agent who also serves the other party. Do not really wait until the last minute to find out.
These are the advantages and disadvantages of dual agency that you should be aware of as a customer before making a decision.
1. Streamlined Process:
The key advantage of collaborating with the seller’s real estate agent is that the process may be simplified. In most cases, having one agent represent both the seller and the buyer allows for more expedient document preparation and signing. When the buyer makes an offer or the seller makes a counteroffer, communication between the two parties might occur at a faster rate than typical.
In a typical real estate transaction involving two independent agents, an offer will be made with your agent’s aid. Your agency will then forward the relevant paperwork to the seller’s agent, who will be allowed to make a counteroffer or accept the initial offer. When one of the parties is removed, the overall process becomes ever more simplified and streamlined.
2. Higher Bargaining Chance:
There’s a possibility that the dual agent will agree to a somewhat smaller fee than normal. In a typical real estate deal with two agents, each agent would get around three percent of the entire price of the house, for a total commission of six percent. When an agent serves both sides, they may be ready to accept a 5.0-5.5 percent royalty. When you use a dual agency, you will also have some negotiation leverage as the buyer. If the seller receives many offers, your agent may assist you in developing an offer that is particularly desirable to the seller.
3. Additional Knowledge Of the Property:
When opposed to agents that work entirely for the buyer or seller, dual agents will often have more information. For example, the dual agent may get facts from the seller that they would not normally have access to. If the seller agrees, the agent can offer this data to the buyer, making the deal go more smoothly. Without a dual agent, any issues you have regarding the property’s condition must be sent along from your agency to the seller’s agent, which only helps to delay the transaction. With these advantages in mind, using a dual agent while buying a property may be the best option for you.
1. Confidential Knowledge Won’t Be Shared:
These agents are not permitted to disseminate the private information of the opposing party. A devious strategy that looks sensible to some purchasers is that they will be able to acquire information about the cheapest bid an owner would accept or how they may be convinced to accept a lower price.
2. Undue Incentive To Complete The Deal:
Receiving a commission from both parties may provide the agent with an undue incentive to complete the deal regardless of how things turn out. This may result in moral or legal difficulties since the agent may be too influenced to keep a critical truth hidden for fear of jeopardizing the business and missing out on the hefty commission, which is twice as large as usual.
3. Conflicting Desires:
The agent promises to be faithful to both clients and to manage problems in the best interests of the client. The property owner’s agent is responsible for obtaining the highest-priced offer on behalf of the owner. The customer’s representative is responsible for obtaining the lowest and best bet pricing for the customer. So, when an agent has a responsibility to two sides with opposing interests, it might be difficult to increase the odds for both. What one side wants is diametrically opposed to what the other side wants, which might result in a negative circumstance in which the agent decides to strive toward the ultimate objective for one side rather than the other.
4. Limited Legal Pathways:
If issues arise, there are few legal options. If you hired a dual agent and want to sue, you may only file against a single broker’s office. This implies you’ll only get financial help from one broker’s insurance carrier.
If dual agency is legal in your state and you locate a real estate agent you trust to handle the transaction appropriately and fairly, you may discover that a dual agency agreement is the best match for you. Having said that, working with an independent agent provides you with greater service, more assistance, and a lot more impartiality. A dual agency setup should be avoided wherever feasible. If you locate your dream property and it is listed by your real estate agent, you might be tempted to pursue a dual agency. Before you decide to work with a dual agent, make sure you examine the advantages and downsides – and follow your instincts.
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