Dual Agent: the Buyer’s Side
You may permit an agent or firm to represent you and the seller at the same time. This “dual agency relationship” is most likely to happen if you become interested in a property listed with your buyer’s agent or the agent’s firm.
If this occurs, and you have not already agreed to a dual agency relationship in your (written or oral) buyer agency agreement, your buyer’s agent will ask you to sign a separate agreement or document permitting him or her to act as agent for both you and the seller.
It may be difficult for a dual agent to advance the interests of both the buyer and seller. Nevertheless, a dual agent must treat buyers and sellers fairly and equally.
Although the dual agent owes them the same duties, buyers and sellers can prohibit dual agents from divulging certain confidential information about them to the other party.
Some firms also offer a form of dual agency called “designated agency” where one agent in the firm represents the seller and another agent represents the buyer. This option (when available) may allow each “designated agent” to more fully represent each party.
If you choose the “dual agency” option, remember that since a dual agent’s loyalty is divided between parties with competing interests, it is especially important that you have a clear understanding of
- what your relationship is with the dual agent
- what the agent will be doing for you in the transaction
This can best be accomplished by putting the agreement in writing at the earliest possible time.