There can be some confusion when it comes to the role of real estate agents whenever a real estate transaction is being executed. In most states, an agency disclosure form is required and should be signed by both seller and buyer. This form is typically a disclosure, not an agreement and details the roles of each party in the real estate transaction.
In a typical real estate transaction, there is either a single agent or a dual agent. A dual agent is a real estate broker who represents both the seller and the buyer. This is important because, in a traditional real estate deal, the broker only represents the seller. Sometimes the lines become blurred and the broker crosses over to the buyer and negotiates a better buying price. While this is a common practice in the real estate arena, it is considered unethical and can even illegal in many states. In a dual agency setting, the broker is required to disclose that he or she is working with both the seller and the buyer.
In a typical real estate setting, the buyer works with a single buying agent. Sellers, on the other hand, work with brokers or selling agents who are working in a single agent capacity listing agents. Legally, these single agents owe a fiduciary responsibility to their clients and documents are signed to this effect. For instance, they cannot share confidential information with the other party or the other party’s agent. Single agency agents must exercise due diligence in the performance of all their duties, be forthright, and disclose all material facts.
Dissecting Dual Agency
Owing to the fact that all real estate agents are licensed under a real estate brokerage, it is not uncommon to find the same agent licensed by the same broker as the listing agent. This situation creates a dual agency. Even if the agents are located in separate offices and do not know each other, nevertheless a dual agency scenario exists because they are both licensed by the broker (one representing the buyer and the other representing the seller).
Here is how dual agency essentially plays out in the real world: after qualifying for a home, the buyer works with a real estate agent who in turn is registered under the same brokerage firm that has listed the home. In this scenario, a dual agency has been created by that real estate agent. In many cases, the agent proceeds as if it is a single agency transaction. The law, however, requires that this dual agency is disclosed.
A listing agent for a property who also represents the buyer of that property automatically becomes a dual agent. Because dual agents cannot operate in a fiduciary relationship with both the seller and buyer, they must treat both equally. They can offer advice to both but cannot disclose confidential information. There are instances where real estate agents have found themselves embroiled in lawsuits for failing to adhere to these standards.
Consider the complications that a dual agency can cause. If an agent is adamant about proceeding in the representation of both transactions be careful and consider hiring an attorney to review the transaction thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.
Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com. To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.