Traditionally, a Realtor could only represent a buyer or seller. In Oregon and a few other states, however, a Realtor can represent both the buyer and the seller. This presents some benefits and risks for all parties involved but we at Baker City Realty have successfully served as dual agents in many transactions since 2003. In fact, around two-thirds of our transactions involve dual agency real estate work – it is the norm in this area.
Realestate.com has a good explanation of dual agency. In a dual agency with a single agent, the seller’s agent who also represents the buyer is operating under a dual agency. When potential buyers who don’t have a buying agent contact a seller’s real estate agent, they can ask the selling agent to submit an offer on their behalf. In this case, the agent is acting as a dual agent. For a copy of the dual agency contract, click here.
Dual agency real estate pluses and minuses
At Baker City Realty, we go farther to help our clients, whether they are buyers are sellers. We are great listing brokers, and get properties sold, but we will also openly and freely represent all buyers, who can have access to all properties without hindrance. In other words, when a buyer needs expert advice on a property, we will always be happy to advise them.
There are some advantages to the dual agency arrangement:
• The seller’s agent is likely more knowledgeable about the property, having researched it to help the seller.
• Aside from looking after the buyer’s interests, a buyer’s agent often just serves as a middle man.
Dual agency requires some things of the agents. They must treat both buyer and seller fairly and and honestly. The dual agent must completely disclose information about the property to the buyer, but cannot reveal confidential information about the seller, including the seller’s identity if the seller wishes to remain private. The agent can’t advise the buyer on how much to offer, nor can the agent advise the seller to accept or reject an offer. In a traditional arrangement, when separate agents represents the buyer and seller, agents can and should advise their client on such things. To see the contact that described dual agent responsibilities in Oregon, click here.
Serving as a dual agent takes additional work from an agent, so what is their incentive? The transaction may proceed more quickly, since there are no other agents to serve as intermediaries. Most of all, the agent will earn a dual commission, instead of having to split it with another agent.
A dual agency real estate transaction may also work well if a transaction is fairly straightforward. However, a potential dual agent should anticipate if a transaction is complex, or if a buyer or seller are difficult to work with, and decline a dual agency opportunity in such cases. Dual agency also works well when the buyer and seller are experienced in real estate transactions.
Much of dual agency real estate comes down to the individual agent and their commitment to ethics and integrity. If they have a reputation of treating their clients fairly – disclosing what they should and keeping in confidence what they should – then an agent may provide a valuable service to buyers and sellers.