Home Buying in Cincinnati>Question Details

Harold Steph…, Home Buyer in Cincinnati, OH

How to get out of Dual Agency?

Asked by Harold Stephenson, Cincinnati, OH Tue Dec 3, 2013

My wife and I found a home online ourselves and asked to be shown it by the listing agent. Long story short, we ended up making an offer on this house with the listing agent acting as a dual agent. It was a hurried offer so I didn't fully understand the Agency Disclosure Statement that we signed. Nevertheless, we signed it. Our offer was accepted, but the deal ultimately fell through.

Now that I understand the dual agency better, we are considering making a new offer on the same house (it is still listed). This time it will be a cash offer and I would prefer to represent myself in this transaction. How can I get out of the Agency Disclosure Statement? Is there a time limit or am I bound forever to this dual agency crap for this house?

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Signing a form that you didn't fully understand was the beginning of this morass. But you should be able to extricate yourself.

Find a buyer's agent that you like and ask them to represent you. Explain the situation, fully, to your new agent. It's likely there will be some back-room dealings and your new agent may have to pay a portion of their newfound commission to the listing agent, in order to get you out of your agreement. But your new agent shouldn't mind, much... it's found money to him/her.

As you've noted... it's unlikely, if you were simply unrepresented, that you'd do any better... a good buyer's agent can probably get you a better deal, than you'll get unrepresented... but there's no real way to quantify that.

Good luck.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 3, 2013
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
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Did you sign an agency agreement when you made the offer? Most likely you did, the question is for what time period was on the document. That locks you into -- THE COMPANY - Not an agent in the company. Dual agency is just that - the agency and it is usually misstated as dual agent. You need to go the the office boss - they are called the Broker or Broker in Charge or Principal Broker and ask to have another agent represent you. Ask for Designated Agency which means you will have your agent and that agent then works for you and not the seller.

If you signed no document for agency in your offer, then you can select any other agent in another company office to be your agent.

These homes are listed and so you can't act as your own agent, if you were to do that the listing agent would get both side of the commission just as they would if you had the dual agency thing going. If you are trying to offer less by reducing the commission the seller pays because you have no agent, it don't work that way and won't help you.

Actually dual agency is not all that bad of a thing and another agent often can not make a seller sell. Sellers are like the horse you lead to water but can't make them drink, so another agent usually does not have more magic up their sleeve. In fact, the listing agent can reduce their commission saving the seller money if they are the only agent involved.

Have fun
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 3, 2013
Thanks Tim, that's exactly what I was trying to do... submit a lower offer representing myself, assuming the seller would then pay less in commissions. Your answer sounds like it won't work and the listing agent would just get both commissions. So, I guess it doesn't matter if I represent myself or use the same agency as a dual agency again for our next offer, correct?

Oh, and so far, with real estate, I'm NOT having fun! Lol.
Flag Tue Dec 3, 2013
As an Ohio Agent I also urge you to not represent yourself as it will not allow you to pay less but does leave you unprotected. The contract to pay commission is between the seller and the broker who lists the house and if you choose to not have an agent the listing agent will get all of the commission and does not have to protect you at all. You are not alone in thinking you could somehow negotiate a lower price if you don't have an agent but you are can not.

If you resubmit an offer you do not have to use the same agent and should tell them you are not comfortable in having them represent you and want to find your own agent.

Good Luck and with a realtor to guide you it really can be fun!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 4, 2013
Harold,
Please reconsider. You made the first mistake by not understanding Dual (often dueling) agency. The mistake you are now considering is No Agency. If you're not licensed, you won't receive the commission. The listing agent will still be entitled to the full amount.
The other issue is that the undoing the damage you've done by not having your own agent may be difficult or even impossible for whoever you choose to assist you, but that's not their fault.
Agency is like hiring a lawyer to represent you and keep your confidences. If you said, I'm offering $150k but I'll pay $155k, the listing agent has to be fair to both sides, but may just tell the seller you'll pay more. They may also tell them about your level of desire for the home, your limitations, your motivations etc. It's impossible to negotiate the best deal with your cards on top the table.
Step one, find your own full time, full service agent to represent you. Discuss what you've already done and consider other homes that they may show you. If you do proceed with this one again, discuss your strategy with the new agent and listen to their advice.
One last note, don't hire just anybody. Find the best possible agent out there. Do some homework, read some Q&A here and some blogs, get some referrals and interview a few before you decide. You're making a major purchase, you need to be able to trust your agent with this as if it was a briefcase full of your cash, because essentially it is. Best of luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 3, 2013
I never really had a problem with the dual agency part of it. Well, aside from the fact that we asked to be shown the home by the listing agent and were handed off to another agent. We never treated either of the dual agents as our agent and kept our cards close to the vest. The deal did not fall through due to dual agency, I should have made that clear in my first post. I just thought I could save the seller some money (and therefore make a lower offer of mine look better) by avoiding a buyers commission. Several people have corrected me and stated that I cannot, so I'm back to square one. I really don't care who gets the commission on any future offers we make.
Flag Wed Dec 4, 2013
" Dual agency is just that - the agency and it is usually misstated as dual agent. You need to go the the office boss - they are called the Broker or Broker in Charge or Principal Broker and ask to have another agent represent you. Ask for Designated Agency which means you will have your agent and that agent then works for you and not the seller."

Harold, I usually agree with Tim but I'm going to disagree here. Having another agent in the same company is almost as bad as dual agency. If you were getting sued by Dewy of Dewy, Cheatim, and Howe, would you use Cheatim or Howe as your attorney? FYI, in Ohio, if there is only ONE agent that agent IS a dual agent AND so is the broker.

"Actually dual agency is not all that bad of a thing"

Yes, it is that bad of a thing. Lets ask Harold and see what he thinks.

Good luck, Harold!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 3, 2013
If I were in your position, i would go thru the following steps

Disclaimer: I am NOT and attorney and this is NOT legal advice.

1) talk to the listing agent and explain your situation, ask him to release the Dual Agency
2) Talk to the Listing Agent's Broker (boss) and do the same. They will probably let you represent yourself, as the goal is to get the house sold. They do not want to be the obsticle to accomplishing the seller's goal of selling the house
3) Hire a real estate buyer's agent to represent you
4) hire a real estate attorney to represent you.

Remember everything is negotiable as long as you are dealing with reasonable people.

Disclaimer: I am NOT and attorney and this is NOT legal advice.

Steve
513-236-3881
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 3, 2013
The agency disclosure is simply that, a disclosure. It is not a binding agreement in NY. you are only bound to an exclusive right to represent agreement. Another option would be to start working with a buyers agent and have a contract in place with them for this home.

Chris
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 3, 2013
Harold, Dual Agency is specific to particular property and a particular transaction. If you go back at the same property you can tell the listing agent that you refuse dual agency and you will represent yourself. However, that agent already likely knows particulars about you and can share anything with the seller if they are not representing you at all.

Bottom line is that you can always choose to have any, or no, representation. That being said, you might want to consider getting a buyer's agent from another firm and bringing them into the transaction. That brings up other issues but if you do not the seller's agent will still get full commission and you will get no representation at all.

Disclaimer: I am NOT and attorney and this is NOT legal advice.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 3, 2013
Sorry autocorrect on my. Phone. Should have been unrepresented. Representation and compensation are two different things remember.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 3, 2013
Dual agency can be a bear to get of. If you want to make an offer and ignore any advice from the. Realtor representing the seller you can do that. I have been in transactions with myself as the only Realtor and an represented buyer or seller in the transaction. Good luck and no matter what happens you will still need to deal with the listing agent. Give me a call if you want.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 3, 2013
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