Is there a conflict of interest in choosing an agent to sell your house who is also the seller's agent for the house you're trying to buy?

Asked by Jodi, 21043 Sat May 1, 2010

(we would use a different buyer's agent)

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., , La Plata, MD
Sat May 1, 2010
Potentially. If you're worried about it I would recommend getting a different agent from the one representing the seller on your future purchase. The question you need to ask yourself is: do I think there is a risk in the agent knowing too much about my financial situation?
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Arthur Eusta…, , Montgomery Village, MD
Thu May 20, 2010
Dear Jodi,

It seems that most have approached your question with the same perspective-that you are unsure or perhaps not in control. I'm thinking that you may be asking because you like the Listing Agent on the home you are buying, that they are professional, have presented the Seller's home well, and seems like they are flexible in working with your contingent contract. You may have been so impressed with this agent's performance, that you see this choice as the best course of action in getting where you need to go.

The listing agent of the home you want to buy will already know your financial condition. They would not take the house off the market for a contingent contract unless you shared everything with them. Of course, they will be motivated to sell your home, so you can buy their listing. That doesn't mean that the agent will put their own interests first, give your house away, or talk you into anything that you don't want to do. If you have any doubt, interview more agents.

I would insist that everyone use a Buyer's Agent to assist them in their purchase, however not every Buyer's Agent makes a great Listing Agent. and vice versa. When hiring any professional, interview, ask questions, get references AND a guarantee that if their service isn't what they promised, you may cancel your agreement with 24 hours notice.

I know this is an old question, however it's a good one. Good luck in your real estate deals!


Art Eustace
Associate Broker
RE/MAX Realty Group
Gaithersburg, MD
1 vote
Alan K, , Westminster, MD
Wed May 5, 2010
I do see potential conflict here. If an agent is the seller's agent on the house you're going to buy, he represents the seller and NOT YOU. Since you have a buyer's agent, that should not be a problem. However, since the seller's agent knows your financial situation and your motivations, it could be difficult to negotiate your best deal.
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Marita Topmi…, Agent, Indianapolis, IN
Sat May 1, 2010

There certainly can be. Not every agent can perform without predjudice in a
limited agency situation. Has the agent done limited agency work in the past?
The agent must advocate for you to the seller and for the seller to you. Not
every agent is comfortable is this position. Find out if yours has been
successful in this position in the past. Your agent should present you with the same advice he would give
any buyer - comps to support the listing price of the property you are interested in buying. And he should
not shy away from presenting an offer for less to the seller.

I just closed on one such situation yesterday. It is tricky. After completing this sale, I would suggest several things. Give any agent you work with to sell your home a full 6 month listing. Use an aggresive listing price - price your current home low enough that if only ONE home sells in your neighborhood, yours is the one.
And finally, your agent should show you other homes that might fit your needs as well.

Try offering a "First Right" first. My sellers refused the first right, making the list price of the buyers' current home even more critical. As my sellers' advocate, I could not and did not recommend a first right. As my
buyers' advocate, I explained why and how a first right could work.

This is a tough situation. It can only work with the right agent and one who has the full confidence of
both parties to the transaction. Even then, it can cause ulcers.

If you have any doubts, talk them over with your agent, ask about his/her experience in such matters,
and get a buyers' agent if you have ANY doubts whatsoever. In fact, in most cases, I would advise
getting a buyers' agent to represent YOUR sole interests. This is my recommendation to you because
you would not have written today if you had no doubts.

Good Luck,
Assoc Broker
Prudential Indiana Realty Group
Indianapolis area
0 votes
., , La Plata, MD
Sat May 1, 2010
Scott, dual agency doesn't work like that in MD. In Maryland, dual agency is when 2 agents of the same broker are the 2 parties in a transaction. If one agent is doing both sides, it's called designated agency, and only one side is being represented (usually the seller side).
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Tina Beasley, Agent, Saint Augustine, FL
Sat May 1, 2010
I feel that is up to you. If you are comfortable dealing with that person, then you know that he/she would be very motivated to sell your home. However, It could be advantageous to have another agent involved since they would be more impartial to the other transaction. Give me a call and I would be happy to discuss this with you further.

Tina Beasley
Associate Broker
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sat May 1, 2010
You have to remember that when the agent is a listing agent they are looking out for the seller, when they are a buyers agent they are looking out for the buyer. Can a dual agent represent the bets interests of the buyer and seller. In most parts of the process yes but when negotiating price and terms, they cant get the best deal for the buer and the highest price for the seller....
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Bill Wootan's…, , Waldorf, MD
Sat May 1, 2010
I would say no because they are representing you in both transactions - not the buyer of your home, or the seller of the home you are purchasing - these are two different transactions!

Good Luck!

Bill Wootan
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