Dual Agency Dos and Don'ts

Make sure you stay within the law when doing dual agency.

Disclosed dual agency often is not a concept that consumers, and in some cases salespeople, understand well. Educate yourself on its benefits and limitations if you choose to offer this representation option. Also, make sure dual agency is legal in your state. If dual agency arises out of a potential buyer asking you to represent them for the sale of a property whose owner you also represent (or vice versa), full, written consent of the intial representee is required before you can assume a dual agency role. Most state laws require you to keep specific information about both the buyer and seller strictly confidential.

Here are some important pointers:

Do:

  1. Disclose all material facts about the property.
  2. Instruct both buyer and seller about any and all limitations the dual agency will place on your ability to assist them both.
  3. Treat the buyer and seller honestly.
  4. Provide information about the property and neighborhood within U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines.
  5. Convey all of the buyer's questions to the seller and get answers in writing.
  6. Disclose the buyer's ability to buy and the seller's ability to sell.
  7. Explain real estate terms and procedures.
  8. Explain closing costs and procedures.
  9. Help the buyer obtain financing.
  10. Help the buyer arrange for property inspections.
  11. Assist in the standard purchase agreement.
  12. Work diligently to complete the sale after the purchase agreement is accepted.

Don't:

  1. Work to the detriment of either party.
  2. Discuss the motivation of either party.
  3. Disclose the price the seller will accept or the price the buyer will pay.
  4. Disclose terms other than those in the agreements.
  5. Say anything that would hinder the bargaining position of either party.

Adapted from Marcie Roggow, "Today's Buyer's Rep," Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council, January 2000