is it ethical for your real estate agent to also represent the buyer?

Asked by joni0814, Tulare, CA Thu Mar 21, 2013

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Lynette Vance, Agent, Posey, CA
Tue Apr 23, 2013
Representing both parties in the state of CA is legal, however, it requires full disclosure up front and a very ethical Realtor/Broker.
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Edith Karoli…, Agent, Winnetka, IL
Fri Mar 22, 2013
It is legally allowed, but both sides have to be informed about the fact and agree to it, in Ilinois they have to do so in writing, often enough in the listing agreement it states that the seller agrees to the listing agent also to represent the buyer.

Personally I never do so when I am the listing agent I work on behalf and in the very BEST interest of the Seller, if I am a Buyers Agent, I am loyal and committed to my buyers and represent them....
The buyers have to understand that the listing agent has a written listing agreement with certain rules and terms signed, so there are certain things a listing agent when also working with the buyer can NOT do for the buyers..... It is best for all parties concerned to have both sides represented separately....
And you are right you are using the work ethical..... it is legal, and allowed, but the Realtor who is the
Listing agent and does also work for the buyer, needs to be very very careful and follow strict rules....

It looks like you are the seller, and your agent connected with an interested buyer which happens often, and if the buyer walks into an open house, without their own Realtor, that is when a situation like that most often arises... Both sides Buyers and Sellers though should be aware of that fact
and what that agent then can or cannot do for the buyers.

I hope this helps, I am not 100 % sure about the law in California, but your listing agent, or his or her
managing broker of the brokerage office certainly will be able to answer your question and explain it
to you, in case you are uncomfortable with the fact.

Good Luck to you

Sincerely yours,
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0 votes
Thanks for your post. May I please take the Q & A to the next level? Should paying our neighbor the mutual Broker/Buyer for both parties, a 6% sales commission seem like a reasonable amount? I'm wondering if it's okay for me to offer him 4% at this late date's going to screw-up the sale?

I'm never going to see my neighborhood realtor again, so burning a bridge doesn't bother me. BTW, he actually sold us this home 10 years ago knowing full well the roof leaked like hell. It needed to be totally re-engineered and re-roofed.
Flag Mon Dec 23, 2013
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Mar 21, 2013
It is allowed legally and by your Realtor code of ethics. That said, it is rather tricky and should not be done without the express consent of both parties. It is very difficult to be absolutely impartial to both parties...
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PollyAnna Sn…, Agent, Bozeman, MT
Thu Mar 21, 2013
Hi Joni - I hold a CA license as well as CO, NC, and MT. Ethics is something different than "legal" of course. I agree with my peers here as they have also answered and many have addressed what is "allowed" or "legal". Realtors are held to a high standard of ethics and we all do our best in any given situation, for the interests of our clients. The question you may want to consider here is "can my Realtor represent both my interests and the interests of the other party in this transaction...and do them both the highest service?" Hard one to answer, yes? Many states are turning away from "Dual Agency" (older skool term, sorry) because the answer has been "no" to the above question I pose.

One answer is to have the broker's office appoint another agent/salesperson for one side of the transaction (usually the Buyer's side), so both parties feel they have unbiased, ethical, moral, and legal representation. I hope this helps. Cheers.
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Laura Coffey, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Thu Mar 21, 2013
It's ethical in California as long as it is disclosed up front to both parties. Whether or not the Realtor is ethical throughout the whole transaction would depend on that specific Realtor and their moral spectrum.
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John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Thu Mar 21, 2013
An answer to your question can only be opinion, since there are specific rules and conditions under which a broker can legally represent buyer and seller in California. My opinion is that even if a broker follows the rules, most of the time it is not ethical. Brokers, for the most part, don't advertise that they are impartial judges who will work in the best interest of both parties to craft a win-win sale. Most brokers, including myself, advertise exactly the opposite. I'm out to get the best deal for my client using my unique skills, experience and techniques. My desire for win-win only goes as far as necessary to get the other party to sign a deal. For me to tell a buyer and seller in the same transaction that I'm looking out for both their interests and getting both of them the best deal possible would be, for me, a misleading statement.
Granted, some buyers and sellers work out the details of their deal ahead of time, then hire a broker to make sure the paperwork goes through correctly, but those transactions are better done with an attorney rather than a broker.
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Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Mar 21, 2013
It is allowed, but I would think long and hard about doing that - that is one of the main reasons agents (and their clients) get sued.
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Kevin and Ju…, Agent, Wildomar, CA
Thu Mar 21, 2013
In CA, it is allowed (dual agency). If you have equity in the property, a better question to ask might be, 'Can your agent get you the highest price, AND get his buyer the best deal?' Your agent is required to present all offers received to you, and in this market, I suspect there will be more than just the one from his buyer...
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