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So Cal Homes…, Real Estate Pro in Hemet, CA

Dual Agency. Is it ethical? Is it Greed? Do you know what a fiduciary is? Have you ever spoken to a Real Estate attorney about dual agency?

Asked by So Cal Homes 951-821-8211, Hemet, CA Thu Jan 28, 2010

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Dear Harold,
While dual agency is legal in Texas, I won't do it. Call me old fashioned, but I am not greedy enough to put myself before my clients, it is just not the right thing to do. I feel it is in the best interest of both parties to have a someone ONLY thinking about their interests. Whenever I am faced with this situation I give the second party to another Realtor that I trust to do a fair and responsible job of representing that person.


Betina Foreman Realtor
Keller Williams Realty
Austin Texas
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
Thanks Mack.

One of the great things, for me, about trulia, is getting to see how business is conducted in other parts of our country......even in other parts of my own state!

When it comes to state laws, though, we can all agree that one doesn't have to like 'em, you just have to obey 'em...........( or change them).

Now, the world according to... Debbie......well, that's an idea I'll have to work on!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Debbie, I think it is useful for you to explain that. Thank you.

Local customs differ, that's why they call them, "local."

And I am as guilty as anyone else in rushing to decry the foolish customs in other lands, and defend my own as the One True Way.

But a little understanding isn't such a bad thing.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
In California as you know we have it. Here is my issue with it right now. The market is difficult so what is happening is that some listing agents are waiting or accepting offers below other offers just to double end. So.... Is that ethical.... NO

I do believe that agents can be ethical but it does allow for unethical behavior. I am waiting to see what a house closes for that we put an offer on. We went over the comps, Cash... he said he had no offers we emailed offer in. Then we we spoke to him a couple hours later, he magicly already accepted an offer and that he was waiting to see if the financial end of it was approved (they were financing). So you know it was not above comps. I am tired of it and I may report it depending on where is comes in. And too boot... he left it active. MMMM... waiting to see who else he could get on board. This on a Sunday and bank owned. How could he have an accepted offer?

This is a repeated story all over town and it must stop!!! Did he do the best for his client....You tell me because I think you can bet what my opinion is.

To me the bottom line is that it is only ethical when you have an ethical agent. There is my 2 cents
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
Great question! I would like to speak to a Real Estate Attorney about this. It is acceptable here in California but it sure seems like it causes a lot of concern an definitely opens up possibility for all kinds of litigation. Some states don't allow it at all. Let us know what you find out. I wish we had more attorneys on this forum to answer this question.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
Dear Mark,
Thanks for backing me up on this topic. Clients should always come first. I liked your answer below!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
It is allowed and if done correctly...ethical too. Lots of work, paperwork, and responsibility. I realy on the nature and attitude of all the parties when we meet to determine whether I will do one. I have done them and have had no problems.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 25, 2010
This was asked, and answered back in idea why it had been resurrected.

This isn't about one's's about the law in my state.

That being said...i will address it now, and I will try to be brief, which isn't always easy for me :)

I don't make the laws in NJ.............I only follow them.

I really don't want to engage in an ethcal discussion of dual agency. The fact of the matter is...disclosed dual algency is legal, alive and practiced in NJ.

If I want to show my buyers a company listed home, I have NO CHOICE but to work in the capacity of a dual agent...the listing agent is also forced to work that way, as well. That's how it is!

Our Consumer Information Statement, that must be given to any new buyer or seller, clearly states the options the parties have, and describes what duties follow each agency designation. Yes, Harold, it is described to them.

In NJ, unlike other states, we do NOT have a "designated" agent, or any other such title that we can work under. It is not practical to only be a buyer's wouldn't do much business if you limited your business to the buy or sell end...not to mention you'd have a hard time working in a large company.

Thus, if I want my buyer to see a home listed by ANYONE in my company (and with over 600 agents, it is quite likely that will occur), I have to work with them as a disclosed dual agent. My only option would be to "give away" that buyer to an agent in another company!!!! Who would do that???

If I have been working with a buyer, and I list a home that is perfect for them.........I must be a disclosed dual agent in order to show it to them.....or, as I said, I would then have to refer them to a stranger in another the most crucial time in the home buying process, I would have to
give them away, or hand them off to someone they don't know.!
That's just how it is really isn't open for discussion.

When the day comes that New Jersey changes the law, and comes up with another way for me to legally show company listings to my buyers without being considered a dual agent, I will be happy to do so. Until then, I will follow my state's legal way of conducting business.

Gentlemen...........I really have no desire to continue this hot topic, as it has been discussed ad nauseum on trulia........and I am not here to defend New Jersey's law..............I don't make the law...I only follow it.

And with that, I will bid you all a fond adieu!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Well, Harold, it may be enlightening to find out why Debbie Rose and other agents from New Jersey (and other states) do not share our opinions?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
I disagree with you but to each their own.
It is my understanding that they made it illegal in some 14 states for a reason.
After speaking with a couple real estate attorneys over the years I understand why.
It is our fiduciary duty to do our absolute best for our clients.
How can an agent represent you as the buyer in getting the lowest possible price and at the same time represent the seller to get the highest possible price? They simply can not!
I know the agents who do this give a form to the client to sign about dual agency.
I have a couple questions for you. Did your client read the dual agency form and understand it? Was it in the best interests of your client or you the agent?

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes Realty
(951) 821-8211
California Department of Real Estate License # 01312992
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 6, 2010
Harold. answers to your questions are: Yes......No..........Yes.......and ...Yes

I don't want to debate the ethics or responsibilities involved in dual agency.............just want to say that In NJ dual agency is alive and well.
It is legal, and we have no choice but to act as "disclosed dual agents" when the opportunity arises..........the opportunity arises whenever we show, not only our own listings, but any company listings.............whether we are listing agents or selling agents. You work in my company..... you show my listing - we are both seen by the state of NJ as disclosed dual agents...and our duties are clearly disclosed.

When listing a home, the sellers agrees to this in writing ahead of time..........We give a Consumer Information Statement explaining all of this on the first meeting with a potential it or not - it's how it is here.

Just as a point of interest - many sellers love the idea of their listing agent selling the home - they have a level of confidence, as does the buyer.....those transactions are not a problem, as we are comfortable working in that capacity.

You may not agree with it, but if you work in NJ, you will learn how to handle it in a proper, legal and ethical manner.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
I forgot to mention, I have spoken with a real estate attorney about this.
It is the first thing they look for to start a litigation against a real estate firm.
second is the contract.
third is the transfer disclosure, and other disclosures.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
I want to thank all of you for answering the question.
I have been trained by Real Estate attorneys myself and I believe it is just wrong.
I granted Betina the Best answer award on this as I believe it is what we should all do.
I am very happy to hear from Mark in Florida that it is illegal there.
I am always glad to see Dianne and Jane as they are tops here locally.
I get the feeling Dianne and I have ran into the same agent.
Jane, I know you are the brokers broker the consummate professional and I respect that.
If any of you ever take a GRI class or an ABR class you will find that there are some that believe it is wrong and borderline unethical.
I am proud to say I don't do it. I have never done it and I wont do it.
I am very happy to see how some of you think as well.
As for the people who come across this and believe otherwise I can only hope your own family in another state hires an agent that does it to them so you later can see how it is not in anyone's best interest.
I just ran into it again and I think it is wrong.
If there ever is an attorney who wants a list of the homes sold by dual agents I would be hard pressed to say, "No."

Thats just my opinion and I may be wrong.

Harold Sharpe
So Cal Homes Realty
(951) 821-8211
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
Dual agency is illegal in the State of Florida. At least we lead the country in something. While it may be legal in some states, it is clearly impossible to have an agency relationship with two sides of the same transaction. You can not keep something a secret from yourself!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
Diane's answer is the best:

To me the bottom line is that it is only ethical when you have an ethical agent. There is my 2 cents

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
In PA, dual agency must be disclosed to both parties up front, and both must agree. But it is legal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
It is ethical, it may or may not have to do with greed, a fiduciary is defined by statute, and yes.

How'd I do?

I've never quite figured out why agents simply don't represent the Seller in these transactions, and leave the buyer in a customer relationship.

Rarely, agents run into a situation where they have an existing relationship with both parties before the buyer sees the listing, and in that case . . .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
Is it legal- Yes
Is it ethical - Yes, provided it is done in full accordance with the Real Estate Agency Relationships Disclosure.
My laymans explanation of the Fiduciary relationship is as follows:
"It is the responsibility of the Real Estate Agent to protect the Clients financial interests to the maximum extent possible, and above all to put their interests ahead of our own at all times".
Most attorneys will give you multiple reasons why they believe Dual Agency should not be allowed. Usually the major issue is the potential for a conflict of interests. This is not acceptable for an attorney where the client relationships are by definition Confrontational (think of divorce for example) and the desired result is usually to provide a winner and a loser. It is acceptable in a Real Estate transaction precisely because the desired result should always be a win-win. However, the Agent needs to be very concious of the potential for conflict of interest and ultra careful to operate in accordance with the relevant Agency definitions.
Because of the potential legal risks involved many Real Estate Companies will not allow their Agents to act as individuel Dual Agents, and some E & O insurers have the same policy.
Also, remember that having 2 individual agents from the same office is effectively a Dual Agency situation and should be treated as such.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 28, 2010
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