Home Buying in Manchester>Question Details

5FT8 Real Es…,  in Massachusetts

Can an agent put in an offer on the same house for you and someone else and treat each equally/ethically? Or

Asked by 5FT8 Real Estate, Massachusetts Mon Jun 30, 2008

Our realtor is working with someone else interested in the same house? Is this a conflict of interest?

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 22, 2008
NO. You just cannot serve two masters.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
Good afternoon Maryann,

It is a situation i personally would not want to get involved in. However if an agent found him/herself they would have to disclose the same facts about the house to both parties such as if there was another offer, what motivations the seller has, any deadlines the seller has. The key for you is to ask alot of questions and be specific to the agent. It is not illegal for teh agent, and sometimes it happens. Realtor A is working with client 1 and puts in an offer. Client 2 drivesby the house and wants to see it, now they want to put in an offer. The scenario's just grow from there. Your key is to watch out for yourself and ask ask ask.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 27, 2008
It's not a conflict of interest, but could possibly be an ethical issue. Ask yourself if the agent working in your best interest. Maybe yes! And so let the agent represent you and make the deal. So what if the agent has more clients who are ready, willing and able to buy the house--the question is--is he/she treating you properly. I don't see a conflict of interest.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
I understand your redirect. No it is not illegal for them to be looking. I prefer not to from the standpoint of negotiating. Yes you can treat both clients equally until as it was mentioned it comes time to turning in offers. I prefer to not get into that. I have clients in the same price range all the time I have yet to have two go after the same home though. If it came to that I would refer one out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
It can be done, there needs to be a lot of disclosing going on.
Web Reference: http://GetPrequalified.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
Yes, this can be done and it depends on the agency relationship with each buyer as to how it is done. Could require Disclosed Dual Agency.
Web Reference: http://www.susancrush.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
It is nothing unusual if I am working with 2 clients that have the same profile as the other client I do place a disclaimer on the property if I am showing it, at that time I may not know which is still on that other clients top of their list for 2nd review. If so I would decline however who places the offer 1st sometimes clients can drag their feet while another client is ready to make a deal happen... if its a great house I want one of clients to close on it. http://www.lynn911.com And there are professional ways to handle these matters.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
In oregon we have a form regarding dual agency when a realtor is representing 2 clients with the same interests. It is possible to be ethical while representing both parties but disclosure is needed.
Web Reference: http://www.realtorinpdx.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
I would have to defer to JR's question. I will answer it this way. I would not do it. I would have to refer out one of my buyers in that case.
OP asked if it were possible to treat both customers (?) clients (?) equally..... if I show a house to someone, does that mean it is unethical for me to show it to someone else? Does it become unethical because the first someone put an offer in? I say "someone" because I have no idea if the OP's agent was acting as a buyer's agent for either of them.

I asked for clarification because although I believe it would be difficult to treat each CUSTOMER equally, I believe it would border on unethical if one or both were CLIENTS. In either case, I don't believe it is illegal to submit offers for 2 customers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
Hello Maryann. In California we have a form for potential clients to sign that addresses this very situation (disclosure and consent to represent more than one buyer or seller). Obviously, in your case you know that your agent is showing the same house to another client and that alone is not a conflict of interest. We are in the business of showing and selling houses and we can't stop showing a house just because we already showed it to another potential buyer. We'd run out of houses to show pretty quickly. I think you understand that since your question is not about showing the house, but writing two competing offers on the same house.
I would agree with the other agents here. While it may be legally possible if you were to agree to it (that's an important element), it would definitely not be advisable. You are not at the mercy of the agent here since you are the principal and the agent can't do something to which you don't agree. While you can't stop the other agent from writing an offer for another buyer on a house in which you are also interested, you don't have to agree to your agent writing up the offer for you as well. Once he has written an offer for someone else, he needs to tell you and refer you to someone else or let you choose another agent. Here's something that I found on the consumer advisory section of the website for the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission:

"Even though real estate professionals must always present properties honestly and accurately under the law, you must specifically hire an agent - using a written hiring contract - before that person legally owes you a duty of loyalty. Otherwise, that agent may ultimately be hired by a seller, and have a legal duty to disclose to that seller any information that you have revealed

Until any agent actually contracts to represent your interests in a real estate transaction, do not disclose any information to him/her that you would not want a seller to possibly know."

While the above statement does not directly address your situation, it does make it clear that the agent does not owe you a duty of loyalty until you have signed a written agreement. In other words, unless you have signed such an agreement, the agent does not owe you a duty of loyalty. Once you have signed up to work with this agent, the agent owes you a duty of loyalty and in my opinion that would include not writing up an offer for the same property for someone else simultaneously unless both buyers were to agree to it (which is highly unlikely). I hope this helps put things into perspective. Good luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
It can be done, but it carries many of the same "conflicts" that dual agency creates.

Since you have inside information on one of the "other" offers (because it's your client), you can't really offer objective negotiation advice to either of the clients, and therefore you become far less useful and effective to your clients. The best thing to do is recuse yourself by doing as Larry suggests and referring one of those clients to a different agent in your office (or a different office, for that matter).

The fact that your realtor is working with someone else interested in the same house, isn't a conflict of interest, until BOTH of you decide to write an offer on that property. Up until then, you just have two clients interested in the same property. But once the second client decides to write an offer, they should be "told" that you have a conflict of interest, and referred out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
I would have to defer to JR's question. I will answer it this way. I would not do it. I would have to refer out one of my buyers in that case.

Hope this helps,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
Are they working as an exclusive buyer's agent for either?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
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