In a piece titled “Dual Agency Can be a Good Thing” the Director of the California Association of Realtors wrote that dual agency is a good thing. One agent can effectively represent the best interests of BOTH parties, because the agent’s role is to bring the parties together and get a deal done. We respectfully disagree. The fact that this opinion came from the director of one of the largest state realtor associations is simply mind boggling to us.
The temerity of this article cannot be overstated. Yes, dual agency is legal in California just as it is in Georgia but the idea that one agent can effectively represent the best interests of opposing parties is just silly. Conflict and debate begins immediately and often continues from negotiation to close. The idea that both parties will walk away fully satisfied is highly unlikely. A quality agent is knuckle deep in every contract and conflict is part of the business.
An article like this from the Director of one of the largest realtor associations is concerning. While legal, is it smart? Does it serve the best interests of each client? At what point does the public force change in the real estate industry? When do home buyers and home sellers begin to be selective about the agents they work with and begin to demand professionalism? Why do home buyers and sellers typically spend more time researching a car or vacation than an agent to represent them in a major financial endeavor? None of this is lost on the industry. How else to explain the continued, low bar to entry and retention? From the article:
“The aim is not simply for one side to “win” and the other to “lose.” The aim is to get a deal together, to create a transaction that is, of necessity, acceptable to both parties. Not only is it the aim of sales negotiations to arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement; but also, especially in residential real estate, there are often important considerations which have nothing to do with the ultimate price. There are matters of personal pride, emotional attachment, convenience, etc.
More than one transaction that could have happened didn’t, because agents were not sufficiently sensitive to the personal nuances that play such an important role in negotiations. That is especially likely to happen when agents act like adversaries. Ironically, it is precisely because of their special relationship with the parties that dual agents can frequently be the ones who are most likely to assist the buyer and the seller in arriving at a mutually satisfactory result.”
The idea that anyone – buyer or seller – would enter into a real estate transaction without a professional agent to represent them exclusively is just flabbergasting. This is especially true for buyers as representation is almost always free and paid for by the seller as part of the sales commission. This also true with new construction and is How New Home Buyers Walk into Trouble. Why would a buyer expect the agent representing the builder to be their advocate?
In Georgia, dual agency is permitted with written consent from both parties. There are other requirements that involved parties must agree with when using dual agency in Georgia. Note that dual agency has been outlawed in several states and many others have considered eliminating it. We recommend that you don’t go into any transaction as an unrepresented buyer. Research and find a real estate agent that is competent and experienced to represent your interests. After all, there’s usually no cost for that service.
If you’re interested in hearing more about our role as a buyer or seller’s agent, please contact us today or give us a call at 678-428-8276.