Dual agency is an option in some states that sellers and buyers can enter into with their real estate agent(s). While this can streamline transactions, you absolutely must be aware of everything it entails, especially because one party can wind up getting the short end of the stick. So here are the pros and cons of dual agency in Los Angeles.
What is Dual Agency?
Dual agency, as defined by one of the top real estate sites, “refers to the relationship that you, as a buyer or seller, have with your real estate agent. Dual agencies can occur with two agents or with a single agent, which is more common. “In a dual agency with a single agent, the seller’s agent who also represents the buyer is operating under a dual agency.” So dual agency involves one agent in both roles, serving essentially as both seller’s agent and buyer’s agent.
Obviously, this can result in a conflict of interests, and that’s why it is not allowed in all states. In those states where it is allowed, dual agents are obligated to inform both the seller and buyer of the dual agency. “These two parties must also sign consent forms indicating that they understand the concept of dual agency, as well as the restrictions imposed on the real estate agent by this type of agreement.”
Pros of Dual Agency in Los Angeles
The pros of using a dual agent include the following:
With one agent handling both ends of the deal, documents can be prepared and executed more quickly and expeditiously. In addition, it makes the negotiations process much smoother when offers and counteroffers can be communicated quickly and effectively. Basically, the middleman is removed, and everything works better.
READY AVAILABILITY OF MORE INFORMATION
Dual agency in Los Angeles also means that a single agent has more information at her fingertips. One agent can share necessary information quickly with both buyer and seller. This means that the buyer’s agent won’t have to keep contacting the seller’s agent to get answers to questions and to get responses to offers.
Because a dual agent acts on behalf of both buyer and seller, thus getting paid for two jobs simultaneously, she may be willing to agree to a lower commission.
MORE NEGOTIATING LEVERAGE
Also, because the agent thoroughly understands the situations and needs of both buyer and seller, she will be able to construct more attractive offers and conduct more effective negotiations.
Cons of Dual Agency in Los Angeles
But before you decide to go with a dual agency in Los Angeles, you also need to be aware of the negative and risky aspects, such as:
PRESSURE TO CLOSE
A dual agent who is getting two commissions – one from the buyer and one from the seller – may be just a little to eager to close as fast as possible in order to collect those commissions. In fact, it does happen (although certainly unethical and perhaps illegal) that dual agents fail to disclose certain facts that might sour the deal and cause them to lose those commissions.
FAILURE IN DUTY OF LOYALTY
A dual agent has a duty of loyalty to both clients, to both buyer and seller. The agent must strive to get the best deal for the buyer and the highest price for the seller. But these are, obviously, competing interests. So the agent may show favoritism by advancing the interests of one party over those of the other. It is a natural human thing to do, and real estate agents certainly aren’t immune.
If you are a buyer, your buyer’s agent will typically advise you on how reasonable the listing price is and may suggest offering something lower. But it can happen with a dual agency in Los Angeles that the agent defends the original listing price in order to get a larger commission.
LESS THAN BEST FIT
The goal of a seller’s agent is to get a buyer to purchase the property the seller is selling – not to find the house that is the best fit for the seller. That means that if you use a dual agent, you may be missing out on properties that better fit your needs simply because you don’t have an agent (a buyer’s agent) with only that objective.
FEWER OPTIONS IN CASE OF LEGAL ISSUES
if any legal issues arise, your options may be more limited with a dual agency in Los Angeles. You are dealing with only one broker’s office, and that limits who you can bring a lawsuit against if such a situation arises.
The Must-Have for Successful Dual Agency
Dual agency in Los Angeles can certainly work to your benefit. But it also carries several significant dangers. So if you choose to use a dual agent, you absolutely must have one you can trust unconditionally. And that’s where we come in.