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What is dual agency? As a seller, is it in my best interest to allow my real estate agent to also represent the buyer?


Dearborn Real Estate Education lists the following definition:

dual agency    Representing both parties to a transaction. In Illinois, this is illegal unless both parties agree to it in writing.

The law is different for each state. Dual agency is illegal in some states. However, in Illinois dual agency is legal only if all parties are informed and have given written consent. The listing agent may not write an offer with the buyers without that agreement in hand.

If I agree to dual agency will my listing agent focus more on the buyer to get him the best price?

If the sellers and buyers agree to dual agency then the agent must give equal loyalty to both parties of the transaction. Many times this means the agent won’t give a lot of advice on what price point to negotiate, because that could become a conflict of interest with all parties concerned. If the agent suggests to the buyers to raise the bid to a price point near the edge of their comfort zone they may think the agent is trying to gain a larger commission. On the other hand the sellers may feel that the agent is not helping them get the best price if the buyers are being coached by the agent.

Remember all REALTORS® are held to a code of ethics which is based off of the golden rule, the preamble states:

In the interpretation of this obligation, REALTORS® can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

A good agent will do everything in her control to for the best interest of all of her clients.

What if my listing agent showed my property to an interested buyer, but I don’t want to agree to dual agency?

If the listing agent is just meeting the buyer and showing him the home this does not mean she is representing him. As listing agent she can’t become his agent without an agreement signed by all parties.

If the parties do not agree to dual agency then the managing broker of the listing office can help assign another designated agent to one of the parties. That agent usually helps the buyer, since the original agent has already been working with the seller. In Illinois this is not considered dual agency, that term only applies to the designated agent, not the brokerage.

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