Good luck to you in any case,
Isaac Real Estate Team
Champions Real Estate Services
TriStar Finance #MLO-107799
Office: 425-483-6849 Cell: 206-841-9976
Winner of Seattle Magazines 5 Star
Real Estate Agent Best in Client Satisfaction Award
Mortgage Loan Originator Best in Client Satisfaction
Dual agency is challenging, and many agents will not act as a dual agent. I will not act as a dual agent. However, on occasion I have written up an offer for a buyer, but represented the seller as the listing agent. In such rare instances, I disclose that I am representing only the seller, and I always encourage the buyer to have an attorney review the purchase & sale agreement.
Typically, a buyer feels the need to have their own buyer's agent, and that's what most agents will recommend. However, in a heated real estate market where there are competing bids, I can understand the rationale of placing yourself in the hands of the listing agent in order to gain some advantage in negotiations. After all, it can be assumed the agent will exert more effort to get your offer accepted if he/she is receiving both the listing and the selling commissions.
Dual agency can work out, but you'd be best represented by having your own agent. Your own agent can delve into why the first sale fell apart. Perhaps there are serious structural problems with the home? And, your own agent will be able to give you give you a fresh opinion of value.
Job #1 for the listing agent is representing the seller, and selling the home for highest price. The listing agent's goal is not to secure both the listing & selling commissions. Most listing agents are perfectly happy receiving the listing commission, and working with a buyer's agent who will be paid the selling commission at the conclusion of the sale.
Good luck with your decision, either way.
Talk to her first...but without revealing any details about how much you do or don't like the house or any info as to what the offer would say. Be honest about your question raised here. The seller would have to agree to "dual agency" as would you. The seller may not want their agent to have a divided interest by being a Dual Agent.
As to how much you should offer, be sure to see it again now with THE agent you will be using, before making any final conclusions. A year is a long time and YES, absolutely ask why the previous offer fell through. That is one BIG advantage of at least talking to her now, as she would know best what happened last year.
Note Kary's comment re the agent writing it as the representative of the seller only. Be very mindful that custom here would be for the Listing Agent to write it BUT not represent you at all! That is determined in the offer on line 16 and most often seller is checked for both Listing and Selling Broker when one agent writes the offer on their own listing. If she agrees to write the offer...that does NOT mean she is going to be a Dual Agent or represent you in any way. DO NOT reveal any details until you are clear on that, as she likely will be talking to you now as the representative of the seller vs your agent or even a dual agent.
Single agent for the SELLER and not you is the norm here, and mostly undisclosed as well, except for that checkbox on line 16. By the time you see that it is too late, as you have already revealed all of the things you should not by then. Terrible practice, but clearly the norm here. They avoid "dual agency" by not representing you at all...which is not better for you.
Dual agency is a tricky position to be in for an agent. An agent cannot provide the level of service required to both parties. On one hand, it is the agent's job to get the highest price for his/her seller, and on the other hand, it is the agent's job to get the best deal for his/her buyer. Being a dual agent you have to remain very neutral so that you don't betray one of your clients in some way...it's not worth it. I am not interested in being a dual agent and I would never advise someone to enter into dual agency. You will find the best representation when you are represented by one agent and the seller is represented by another agent.
You definitely want to investigate what happened with the previous offer and why the sudden drop in zillow's value estimate (although just because zillow says the house is worth 424k doesn't mean it's true). These important questions should be answered and you should be able to trust your agent to find the answers...a dual agent may not discuss everything with you as the buyer to protect his/her client the seller, and maybe the agent will tell you all of the details which could weaken his/her seller's position...there again lies the trouble with dual agency.
Hope you find the answers you're looking for on here. Good luck!
Second, I can't tell what you're asking about with a dual agent from the facts you're giving. In Washington unless you've signed a buyer's agency agreement with an agent, it's very unlikely you really have dual agency (as opposed to the agent incorrectly thinking they are a dual agent.) If the agent has a listing agreement on a house, then chances are they would always be the seller's agent. If the agent does not have a listing agreement, then chances are they are the buyer's agent.