Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is Dual Agency Fair?

I recently had a situation where a buyer came to me and did not think that she was getting fair representation from her real estate agent. The agent was acting on behalf of both the buyer and seller on the transaction. I must also add here that the agent was related to the seller, which only added to the buyer's doubts in this situation. Is it possible for a real estate agent to represent the best interests of both buyer and seller during the same transaction? Is it legal for the agent to do so?

Dual agency is the process by which the buyer and seller are represented by the same real estate agent. One real estate agent is campaigning for the best interest of the buyer and the seller at the same time in one real estate transaction. Is this legal in Louisiana? According to LSA-R.S. 9:3897(A), an agent "may act as a dual agent only with the informed written consent of all clients." The statute goes on to mention that the informed consent form has to include specific language regarding what the dual agent should be doing for the clients when involved in representing both sides of the transaction.

My best guess is that my buyer in the above situation did not feel she was being represented fairly due to conflicting interests of both the buyer and seller in the transaction. Moreover, there were some issues with repairs to the subject property of the sales transaction and the agent was negotiatiating for the best interest of both the buyer and the seller in trying to resolve the repair issues. The buyer felt she was being hung out to dry in that the agent was leaning more towards the seller and trying to protect the seller's interest in the transaction.

Whether you choose to put yourself in the situation of dual agency or not, you need to remember the following:

  • The agent must disclose the dual agency

  • The agent must get your consent to the dual agency in writing

  • The agent has an ethical duty to represent both buyer and seller "fairly"
  • The agent shall not disclose confidential information about either party without their consent

  • If you feel you are not getting fair representation by the agent, let the agent know

  • If the unfair representation continues, contact the agent's broker


Ericwipe287 said...

When same agency is involved in case, there are chances of biasing. The agency can be biased to either side. So, choosing similar agency is not a good idea.

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Unknown said...

I totally agree with eric's point here.

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Hagglemurry said...

I afresh had a bearings area a client came to me and did not anticipate that she was accepting fair representation from her real estate agent.

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Unknown said...

But, I guess it would be better to stick into one agency only as much as possible so that it won't be burden for you at all when problems arise.

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Tiago said...

best real estate agents knows how to avoid mistrust in both sides of the operation (buyer and seller) because he shouldn´t try to harm any of them in favor of the other. If he does that he doesn´t undestand his job at all.

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