Your Real Estate Double Agent
Choosing a real estate agent is perhaps one of the most critical parts of the real estate process as that agent will become your closest ally in the long term effort to buy or sell a home. Real estate transactions are major milestones in a person’s life and that real estate agent is the key person to be involved in making sure your wants and needs are met throughout that process.
After that extensive process, you are then faced with a person that you have invested a great amount of time and effort in. Trusting that real estate agent to represent you fully at all times may seem to be at the foundation of a realtor’s responsibilities, but there are other types of responsibilities those agents are motivated to serve that you need to be aware of.
Knowing who is on your side during a real estate transaction can go a long way towards helping you not only select the best agent but do your own best job throughout a real estate transaction to provide that agent with information that will help you buy or sell a home. For example, many realtors through the course of showing a prospective home buyer different properties will show them a home they are listing.
Obviously, that dual responsibility of representing the best desires of the buyer and seller can create a conflict of interest and should you informally say that you would pay a particular amount for a property, that real estate agent is more or less obligated to share that information with the seller. Of course, this can ruin any negotiating tactic you might want to try.
Real estate agents are required to disclose when this is the case and sometimes a special kind of arrangement, the dual agency arrangement, is used to at least make sure that the buyer and seller are both served properly. Under a dual agency agreement, the buyer and seller are represented by different parties working for the broker that has both the buyer and seller as clients.
In this type of agreement, both buyer and seller must agree to the situation and the individual real estate agents are charged with making sure they serve their own client fully. In some real estate markets, this kind of agreement can be common if a particular real estate broker has a multitude of listings and a strong supply of prospective buyers. It is only a matter of time until a buyer and seller match up on a property for an individual broker.
The conflicts of interest in these types of situations are largely removed by the dual agency agreement, but you must still be sure that your needs are being met by your agent. You want your agent working vigorously for you and that can mean negotiating fervently with another agent in their same office, perhaps one that they are friends with and have daily interaction with. That can be difficult for some agents and a dual agency agreement takes another layer of oversight by the buyer or seller to make sure that things are on the up and up.
After expending so much energy to choose your real estate agent, you may feel that you can sit back and let that agent do their job without interference. While that is generally true, you still must remain active in the process, asking the right questions and making sure that your needs are communicated to the other side.
In a strange situation like a dual agency agreement, a special emphasis is needed on that active, vocal role of a buyer or seller to make sure that a transaction is completed to the best ability of the agent involved. Never be afraid to speak up and get involved.