Monday, August 13, 2007

Real Estate 101

Dual Agency--Yea or Nay?

Whether you are a home buyer or seller, it is important for you to understand the legal nature of the agency relationship you have with your agent. We must act in your best interest while representing you in a real estate transaction. This gets complicated if you find yourself in a "dual agency" situation.

What is dual agency? Basically, it means that a real estate agent is representing both the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction, which is legal in California (but not in all states). A real estate agent who is working as a dual agent could easily find herself in a conflict of interest by trying to represent the best interests of both parties. On the other hand, if the agent has a sound understanding of everyone's goals and works in a highly ethical manner, there shouldn't be a problem.

So, what should you do if you find yourself in a dual agency transaction? First, insist on clear communication at all times. Second, be explicit with the agent about your needs in the transaction. Third, check with the agent's broker if you have any questions or concerns.

If all the involved parties work hard toward a smooth close of escrow (like they always should!), dual agency doesn't need to be a problem. But, it is your right and responsibility to ask questions and make sure it is the right representation for you. It can be a complicated situation, so if you have questions or want more information about dual agency, please let me know. I'm always happy to help. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or

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