Most real estate agencies attempt to represent both home buyers and home sellers. That makes them dual agents. And that means a home buyer who is not careful could very likely end up with an agent who is not representing his or her interests one hundred percent.
The more you learn about dual agency, the more you’re likely to ask: is dual agency legal? And, since it is indeed legal, you’ll want to contact The Home Buyers, Inc. to make sure you’re getting all the benefits of one hundred percent representation from an exclusive buyer agent.
Not So “Dual” After All
Despite their name, a dual agent is not so “dual” after all. Any agency that lists homes for sale—or any agent associated with an agency that lists homes—cannot offer home buyers the same protections that an exclusive buyer agent can.
By listing homes, the dual agents obligate themselves to represent the seller. What’s more, the fact that an agency lists homes for sale can even put legal restrictions on the dual agent’s ability to fully represent the interests of home buyers.
Buyer Agents in Name Only
Dual agencies may offer to represent home buyers by designating some of their agents as “buyer” agents or “buyer” brokers.
The problem is that even when they take these steps, the potential for conflicts of interest remains. They may have attempted to build resilient firewalls. Even so, that can’t change the fact that the agency stands to gain by selling their own homes for top dollar. Nor do they change the legal obligations of the agents and their employers to favor the seller throughout the transaction.
Who Benefits From Dual Agency
It’s natural for REALTOR®s to be drawn to dual agency. Leading a home buyer to a home they’ve listed, after all, lets them collect a commission from both sides of the transaction. Some real estate agencies even pay a bonus when a “buyer” agent brings buyers to homes listed by that agency.
For the seller, a dual agency provides most of the advantages that an exclusive seller agency might. That’s because a dual agent shares many of the legal obligations to advocate for the seller.
The one group most at risk when represented by a dual agent is the home buyer.
However much they may try, dual agents can’t really fight the built-in industry bias that is skewed to favor the seller. One way to make sure you wind up with a REALTOR® who truly and fully represents you is to know the three types of agents.
You know why lots of second-time home buyers choose an Exclusive Buyers Agent over a traditional real estate agency? It's because they've already been through the process—and realize there's a better way to buy a house.