Question Details

Ray, Home Buyer in California

Should I agree with him when a RE agent offers to be a Buyer Agent when he is Already a Seller Agent?

Asked by Ray, California Sat Jul 7, 2007

How could I know he is working for my interest while he promises the seller he'll try to sell his property for a good price? Should I mind when he and the seller communicate in their native language instead of English in front of me?

Help the community by answering this question:


Dear Yar, a listing agent's job is to represent the seller NOT you. Please get a buyer's agent to represent you, negotiate on your behalf and protect your interests.

Good luck!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 7, 2007
That is a great question. While it can be difficult, it's not impossible for an exceptional agent to effectively do both. However, in California, DUAL AGENCY must be disclosed, and AGREED UPON by both parties. I always tell my clients "go with your gut"--if you feel uncomfortable for any reason, just don't do it. I've never heard anyone yet say they wish they hadn't listened to their instincts.

As a Buyer in California, the Seller is generally paying the Buyer agent commission--that means you can afford to hire the very best help possible. Unless the home is an EXCLUSIVE (meaning not on MLS and being offered only through that listing agent), you are free to choose your own agent. Consider hiring an Accredited Buyer's Agent (ABR); you can find one thru

I know some dual agents offer a commission discount to seller/rebate to buyer when there's dual agency but again, if it doesn't feel right, don't do it. One excellent question to ask for references from both parties on some prior transactions with dual agency that the agent has done.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 8, 2007
Agency laws vary by state. Dual agency (representing both seller and buyer) is allowed in some states, not all. The seller hired an agent to assist him/her in obtaining highest and best price for his/her property. A buyers agent is working with the buyer to protect the buyers' interests and negotiate the lowest price. A dual agent is attempting to serve to masters. When you have a buyers agent, there is no divided loyalty.
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3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 7, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
I personally am not in favor of dual agency exactly for the reason that prompted you to ask the question. I also think that speaking in another language in front of another client or potential client is rude. I think you have every reason to want to get your own agent. So my answer to you is, no don't agree. Get your own agent works for you only.
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2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2007
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
State laws vary in dual agency disclosure. In Georgia, we are legally allowed to represent both parties (dual agency) IF it is disclosed in writing and agreed to by all parties. That said, I personally do not practice dual agency. If a buyer I am working with chooses tio make an offer on a property I currently have listed, I contract with another agent in my office to represent the Buyer during the negotiation and inspection phases. The cost of this representation is paid for by me to the other agent. In doing this, I disclose to all parties my reason for having another agent to come in to the transaction is that I personally feel I cannot ethically represent both parties.
Regarding the agent and the seller speaking in native tongue in front of you without translation, I view this as very unprofessional on the part of the agent.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2007
If you have to ask this question to yourself about the agent who offers to be Duale agent, then you should NOT use him as the agent to represent both you (the buyer) and the seller.

In finding an agent to represnt you; knowledge, experience, technical ability, marketing methods, ...., etc all are important factors to consider. However, I find that the most important quality you are looking for while dealing with one of the most important transactions in your lifetime is TRUST. If you can't Trust the person, then don't go with him/her, whether it's Dual agency or not.

Now that I get that out of the way, I want to say that although I agree with most people in most situation that you should NOt go with Dual agency, sometimes you can actually do that and get real benefit out of it. Remember this is from both sides. Sometimes the best deal for a seller or buyer might or might not be money, it might be everything that's involved in a sale or purchase, whether it's money, repairs, credits, timing of close, negotiation of terms; the complete combination makes the BEST sale.

There were a few cases when my clients (seller) told me upfront that they don't want me to be DUAL agency, but after they worked with me for a while, they said that they would have loved to have me be the agent representing both sides because they know they could trust me and they wanted me to make all the comission. I took that as a GREAT compliment, and loved that this did not come from only one client but several :-)

I have never actually done DUAL Agency before, but quite a few times during my deals, I had a feeling that the other agent might not be the best communicator and misrepresented the intention of the buyer or seller; that's when I actually felt that the whole thing could have been dealt much better with only one agent. Sometime, communication is the key to a successful transaction where both sides are winners! .

So, you can see I have a lot to say about this topic; it all depends; but if you want to hear all my theory about this, you shoudl call me and we can discuss it. But to make a long story short - Make you TRUST the Realtor you work with, that's the only reason you want to work with the person whether for buy or sell or DUAL agency! - A moment ago - Delete this answer
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Marin, CA
I'd almost always recommend using a different agent. It's pretty tough for one agent to fairly represent both parties. They likely become more of a transaction coordinator. Of course it depends on the situation. If you think the price is fair and the condition is good then it might be easier and faster to use the same agent. In my case I do represent both buyers and sellers. However it is rare that the buyers I have want the exact homes I have for sale.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 9, 2007
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
When the agent is representing both sides, then they are representing the contract and not necessarily the best interests of the client. I would find someone to represent your interests exclusively, good luck to you
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 8, 2007
Yar: You hit it on the head when you said "should I mind when he and the seller communicate in their native language.. in front of me". While dual agency has it's benefits - i.e. seller & buyer are well versed in real estate lingo and processes, the second a buyer starts to ask him/herself the kind of question you just asked us - you need to find your own representation.

Real Estate agents work hard to create a clean working slate and are constantly striving to do the best possible job for their clients - there are those times (such as yours) that call for individual representation. You can even contact the listing agents broker and as that he/she "designate" another agent from the same office to represent you.

You will at least feel that someone is working in your best interest, and you won't have that nagging voice inside your head wondering if you are protected.

Good luck to you and I hope this has been of some assistance to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 8, 2007
Yar, you don't have to. It is legal, however you can choose an exclusive agent to serve, especially if you don’t feel right about choosing a dual one. Saying that, please make sure that you do your homework while selecting one. There are many very good agents, but make sure that the one you choose have qualifications you expect him/her to have.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 7, 2007
Artur Urbans…, Real Estate Pro in Burlingame, CA
Hi Yar,

A broker can work for both the buyer and the seller on the same property provided the broker gets the consent of both parties and provides each with a written notice of the relationship. In this case, the broker is considered a "disclosed dual agent." This broker owes both the seller and buyer a duty to deal with them fairly and honestly. In this type of agency relationship, the broker does not represent either the seller or the buyer exclusively, and neither party can expect the broker's undivided loyalty, or for them to advocate for either party. Undisclosed dual agency by a broker is illegal.

Melissa Mancini, Realtor, CBR, GRI
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 31, 2007
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