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Tim Walters Advocates for Home Buyers at Minnesota Capitol

April 26, 2021

In March 2019, The Home Buyers’ Tim Walters took advocacy from day-to-day, one-on-one home buyer representation to the policy level when he testified before the Minnesota State Senate’s Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy.

The committee was considering MN SF1020, commonly known as the “designated dual agency bill.”

Testifying March 6, Tim drew on personal experience—gained from brokering more than 1,000 home-buying transactions—to offer the committee “some clarity [about how] designated agency would impact the consumer.” Countering the argument that designated dual agency somehow expands consumer choice, Tim noted that simply “refer[ing] to designated agency as ‘exclusive’ … is not choice.” His overriding theme: “There are just too many conflicts of interest that can arise.”

On February 19, 2019, Consumer Advocates in American Real Estate (CAARE) called designated agency “a legal fiction [that] is worse than dual agency” because it “legalize[s] the intentional misrepresentation of dual agency.” 

“A Short White Paper on Designated Dual Agency in Minnesota,” prepared by CAARE executive director Doug Miller, provides a succinct, detailed explanation of what designated dual agency really is, how it actually works, and how it hurts home-buying consumers.

Despite testimony from Tim and other consumer advocates, the bill passed the committee 7 to 3 and has been re-referred to the Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee. Tim plans to continue advocating for home buyers, returning to the capitol building in the coming weeks to testify again, this time before the Judiciary Committee.

If passed by the Judiciary Committee, the bill would move to the general session to be voted on by the entire senate. A companion bill, MN HF1112, is moving through the Minnesota House of Representatives.   

The bill’s clearance of its first legislative hurdle means that it is increasingly urgent for Minnesotans to voice their opposition to these bills.

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