Should I Work With a Dual Agent?

Dual agency is when one real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. While it is not an uncommon practice, it can sometimes create conflicts and leave the parties feeling like their own interests are not being protected. The parties may feel as though one side is being favored over the other despite (1) any written disclosure or agreement between the parties and the dual agent, and (2) any rules of conduct prescribed for dual agents.

Despite that, there are quite a few advantages of having a dual agent.  For example, communication between the parties could be faster.  The dual agent will have more knowledge of the property and the situation, which can help streamline the process. Having less people involved in the transaction makes it smoother when it comes to obtaining responses from the other party.  The agent may already know the answers, resulting in less of a hold-up. There are also fewer schedules to be worked around when setting up showings, inspection, and walkthroughs.

On the other hand, there are considerable disadvantages to dual agency also.  For example, there could be a conflict of interest, or negotiations might become tricky.  Financial considerations may make it harder for a dual agent to be neutral and take both sides’ interests into consideration. If negotiations arise, the dual agent may not be able to advocate for one party properly as it will appear they are going against the other party’s interests. For example, if an agent knows his seller is desperate to sell, it would be against the seller’s interest to disclose this to the buyer.  At the same time, it is against the buyer’s interest to not be informed of the added negotiation power the buyer may have.

Whether you choose to use a dual agent or not, both parties need to look out for their own respective interests. After all, the buyer and seller are two different parties with very different goals, both relying on the dual agent to walk a fine line. The most important aspect of an agent and client relationship is trust. You must consider the pros and cons to your own personal and financial situation before deciding if a dual agent is best for you.