In California, the practice of "dual agency" or having one Realtor represent both the buyer and the seller is perfectly legal--and it is one of the activities that many listing agents hope to do because it will mean that the one agent is paid both the commission reserved for the seller's agent as well as the commission to be paid to the agent representing the buyer. In some cases, the fee to be paid to a dual agent can be between 4-6 percent of the total cost of the home, so there is incentive for an agent to serve as a dual agent in a transaction.
For those who are skilled in this field and have successfully completed transactions serving as a dual agent, there should be no loss of confidence that the agent can successfully perform his or her duties for both parties. However, if this is the agent's first foray into dual agency, it might be better to obtain your own buying agent to represent you especially since you are a first-time home buyer. Dual agency is a tricky business (much like having one attorney represent both a husband and wife in a divorce--it can be and often is successfully done by the skilled practioner), and, without proper experience and training, the results can be less than desired--it is the reason that dual agency is not allowed in many other states.
Since you are a first-time home buyer and unfamiliar with the arena of real estate, might I suggest that you obtain your own representative to assist you in your purchase. By having your own agent, you can speak and ask questions freely about the transaction and the "tactics" that you can employ in purchasing your home. As you've already found the home you want, you might also consider using a licensed real estate agent who will service as a "facilitator" andl charge only a small commission to prepare sale documents and help you through the transaction--in this way, you can get the help of a professional while getting back excess commission over the facilitator's fees or have the same overage applied to the cost of the home to reduce the overall sales price to you. For more information, see my blog on "Buying Without An Agent" at the website below.
Good luck in your home purchase!
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
Thanks for bringing Real Estate Industryâ€™s top question on the table.
Itâ€™s called â€œAgency Relationshipâ€ â€œWho is representing who?â€
Let me answer your second question firstâ€¦
If you want your self a buyerâ€™s agent, you should call 2 or 3 brokers. Make an appointment with them. Think and jot down all the questions you can ask an agent.
Meet with them at their office.
After interviewing at least 3 agents/brokersâ€¦ask your self
â€¢ Who you feel comfortable working with.
â€¢ Who do you think is going to take care of your interest first
Amy, home buying is probably the largest investment homeowners make.
Make sure you put your future in the hands of an experienced, knowledgeable, result oriented and passionate Real Estate professional.
Yes, a sellerâ€™s agent can be a buyerâ€™s agent too. One agent can represent both buyers and sellers. Thatâ€™s called dual agency. A dual agent has fiduciary duty toward both parties.
Itâ€™s always good to have your own agent (buyerâ€™s or sellerâ€™s) I have a big list items of buyers benefit by having their own agent. I can email that list to you if you wish, or feel free to contact me.
By the way, you are at the right time at the right placeâ€¦ this is the great time to buy
Real Estate, where prices and interest rates both are low in last three decades.
It's buyer's market... before it turns the table buyers should buy now!
Good luck to you,
As a first time home buyer... you have a lot of question that needs to be answered.
It is legal for a realtor to represent both seller & buyer in a transaction but the problem in that, is that you are not sure if he is able to represent you in your favor or the sellers favor. You want somebody that would safeguard you and your dealings.
Being a first time home buyer, you want an agent that will work for you. When a listing agent takes a listing, the seller will open up to the agent sometimes letting them know their bottom line, other information it is the agent's due diligency to work for the seller and keeping there information private. How than can the agent work for you, and be diligent working for you. Having your own agent you know the agent is only working for you and not the seller, getting you the best price. Call me I will happy to go over how I work with the first time home buyer, and how I educate my buyers first than we start looking at homes.
Not to impume some of those in this space, but representing both is a huge potential conflict of interest and must be avoided. Even though I would hope I and others would act in a fair manner, conflicts are unavoidable and are just human nature. For instance, the job of the selling agent is to get the highest price and the job of the buyer agent is to get the lowest price. No matter how fair you are, it is just not possible to avoid favoring one over the other when just considering price. That is just one pitfall of have a duel agency relationship.
As another person said, interview 3 brokers (remember these are hard times and there are deals to be made) and find the one who you connect with and has a good reputation. You could ask this audience for their opinion. For more information on conflicts, see the link. I definately see the value of an agent so disregard the title of the URL, but it lets you see some of the conflicts for better context. Good Luck!