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Bernardo kin…, Home Buyer in Saint Ansgar, IA

can an agent represent a buyer and a seller at the same time?

Asked by Bernardo kinsky, Saint Ansgar, IA Wed Nov 6, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:


Yes, but only with full disclosure to both parties. It is a delicate dance as how do you advocate for BOTH sides, truly. What you try to do is work the transaction - try to get a win-win for both sides. It can be done but is not the best situation.

Coleen Dearing
Coldwell Banker Trails West Realty, Ltd
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 6, 2013
Dual agency really doesn't work...you can't have fiduciary responsibility to both sides, it's just not possible. However, you can, as Coleen suggests, work with both sides for a win-win. Florida law forbids dual agency, but allows an agent to act as a Transaction Broker, working to ensure the deal closes fairly for both sides. A transaction broker cannot reveal certain information to the other side (like how low they would go), but can use that information to work out a win-win for both sides (ie: I know how low the seller will go and how high the buyer will go, so I can find a fair price in the middle that both can be happy with, but tell neither side the other side's secret! And then I can try to find a "bonus" that I can throw in (ie: closing date or closing cost concession) that will sweeten the pot for each side without upsetting the other, so everyone feels like they've won. It's a challenge, but it's worth the extra work, and the agent typically is compensated better in a transaction brokerage situation, so I should be working harder.
Now, that said, it is still in each side's best interest to have a good agent working exclusively for them and acting as their Fiduciary...looking out for ONLY their BEST interest.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 7, 2013
Hi Mark,
Can you be 100% equal in everything you do with two people? While the laws in various states permit what is called "dual agency" I consider it impossible. If I have a previous relationship with my listing client and I knew all their secrets would I trust myself to not reveal something I shouldn't to another client I have an obligation to keep confidences too?
I will sell my own listings and have several times, but I only represent on side in the transaction. The buyer's know this going in and sign paperwork accepting these terms or they find another agent to represent them.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 6, 2013
It depends on which state the property is located. In some states, dual agency is not permissible.

Wherein dual agency is allowed, the agent has to disclose dual agency to both the buyers and the sellers and should have their consent in writing.

However, it is always best to be represented solely by your own agent because, as most professionals here mentioned, it is almost impossible to perform the fiduciary duties to the client 100 percent if the agent is representing both sides.


1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 7, 2013
While each state may vary, in California an agent can represent both a buyer and seller at the same time. It is known as a "dual agency". I would suggest checking with the local board of realtors for guidelines regarding dual agency in your state.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 6, 2013
Great question, and the answer is "Of Course" We are fair and efficient to both sides....and who knows the Seller better than the Listing Broker....if you happen to fall in love with your broker's own listing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 6, 2013
Flag Wed Nov 6, 2013
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