Dual Agency is Not for Me

What is Dual Agency?

A dual agent works for both the buyer and seller in a transaction. From the PA Consumer Notice, “A dual agent may not take any action that is adverse or detrimental to either party but must disclose any know material defects about the property.”

This second part about disclosing know material defects…this is not specific to dual agency, a listing agent must disclose these defects whether or not they represent both parties, so this is not a unique protection for buyers working with dual agents.

What is the benefit of dual agency?

Wrong question. A better question is: Who benefits from dual agency? Not the seller, not the buyer.

What is the problem?

There really isn’t one, which is why dual agency is allowed in Pennsylvania. Assuming everyone does what they are supposed to do, dual agency is perfectly fine and does not harm buyers or sellers.

Again, assuming everyone does what they are supposed to do, any would be issues are really just with perception. Here are two examples:

  • A multiple offer situation where the seller selects the offer from a buyer who is also represented by the listing agent. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this since agents are ethically bound to do the right thing. However, it is difficult to completely eliminate all questions of impropriety, especially when a third party may have wanted a different outcome.
  • Everything runs smoothly when there aren’t any issues, but what do you do when difficult inspection negotiations are encountered? Both the seller and buyer could perceive that their agent is not doing enough to negotiate on their behalf. While this can happen even when both parties have their own representation, having only one agent in the middle may complicate matters.

I believe that that buyers and sellers are best served when they each have their own designated representation, someone who can represent them without limitations and truly negotiate for the best price, best terms, and the best results.

How I handle dual agency

My personal policy is to only represent one side of a transaction. In situations where buyers call me directly to see my listings, I either refer them to a colleague for the showing or show the property myself and then connect them with another agent should they decide to pursue the property. I always disclose my policy upfront.

Is there a downside?

You could say that I’m potentially leaving money on the table by closing the door on the possibility of working for both sides of commission, but I prefer to go all in and represent one side of each transaction without having a hand tied behind my back. My goal is to get my clients the best results with as little frustration as possible. Working only one side of a transaction helps achieve this goal.

Give me a call and let’s talk about how I can help you achieve your goals.
Call or text: 215-520-7166, email to: neil@realtorneil.com or try me at the office: 215-247-3600 ext. 340

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