An agent representing adverse parties (both the seller and the buyer) in a transaction is rife with pitfalls and ethical questions related to an agent's fiduciary duties, so it's a tricky proposition, but surprisingly, not a totally uncommon one. You need to be aware that by agreeing to dual agency (with a single agent versus a company), you give up your right to the agent's undivided loyalty. A part of an agent's fiduciary duties are to put their clients interests ahead of all others, including their own, but in dual agency, their fiduciary duties are compromised by representing both sides. The age-old question is, How can you possibly represent the best interests of your client faithfully when you represent two separate adverse parties? Essentially, the agent becomes an intermediary in a way. You lose their skill, knowledge and insight to help you make the best decision during the process. While dual agency opens the door to some unethical possibilities, that's not to say that some dual agency transactions don't go through smoothly, without a hitch. Some do, you just need to be aware of the changes in the agents duties to you and of the possible issues surrounding such an arrangement. There's additional risk for everyone involved, including the agent. To avoid this conflict of interest and the inherent risks, many listing agents will refer the buyer side to another agent, so they can perform their duties faithfully and loyally to one particular client. I think most would agree that's the ideal situation.
If you have any further questions or would like to discuss in detail, give me a call at (415) 847-2845
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