I know, I know… we’re supposed to all say how we don’t like limited (or dual) agency because it makes us seem more respectable or feel better about ourselves or something. But this is one travesty that I have to defend because I care more about the truth and reality than I do about political correctness.
I’m up for a good debate right about now.
See, lost in the noise of endless proclamation about how dual, or limited, agency is bad and the laundry list of examples where it can be misused is a simple, yet glaring ommission in fact. When used properly, it is not only good for both buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction, but can actually be better for both. Think about it- one of the greatest challenges to a real estate transaction is communication. Honest and timely communication between parties. Having one agent representing both sides can eliminate much of that challenge.
People take time off, go through bad mobile phone reception areas, attend meetings, eat dinner, do myriad other things that make them unavailable to get ahold of. Coordinating disclosures, appraisals, inspections, title reports, settlement and reams of addenda can be the logistical equivalent of running in circles until you fall down. And trying to do these things with another agent who doesn’t understand the “Time is of Essence” clause of the purchase contract or is just lazy, careless, or simply tough to get in contact with can make the entire transaction frustrating and sometimes impossible.
So what are the limitations to limited/dual agency? The single agent representing both sides can’t disclose anything about either parties personal finances or motivation to the other party. That’s about the whole disadvantage. As if the buyers or sellers agents would “discover” all sorts of things they could tell their clients otherwise.
In reality we, as agents relay information from the other side to our clients, advise them, and then do as instructed. We don’t make decisions for the client. We enable them to make informed decisions and I do not believe that my ability to do so is damaged because I am getting my information first-hand rather than second-hand from the other side.
As with all aspects of agency, if this responsibility is not handled correctly or is misused there will be conflicts and problems. But that is not remedied by eliminating dual or limited agency- it is cured by eliminating the licenses of those individuals who conduct their business that way.