Another Q&A from San Jose Mercury News: Is it OK to go with the Same Agent to Represent Both the Buyer & Seller?

Saturday, November 1, 2008 Pat Kapowich for SJMN’s Market Wise Column

Q: Our sellers' agent keeps hinting that he would like to also represent the buyer of our house, stating that it would make it a smoother sale. I am uncomfortable with this idea, but my wife thinks it s a great proposal. Brokerage fee issues aside, I understand it s perfectly legal but is it prudent?

Marketing Strategy

A: Sellers representatives pushing to represent both the buyer and seller in a sale often joke they get along with the other agent. However, this individual may actually have difficulty dealing with other licensees. That alone can be a red flag. Remember, one hires a real estate representative to counsel and advise, then negotiate on your behalf something that is critically hindered with dual-agency. For example, if a buyer is willing to pay over list price, or conversely, the seller is willing to accept a low offer the dual-agent cannot disclose that information to either party.

It requires a real pro to handle dual-agency successfully. But most real estate pros don t engage in dual-agency. If you re a seller, I d recommend avoiding it. The same purchasers who eagerly use dual-agency to buy your property can develop buyer s remorse and then just as enthusiastically use dual-agency to rescind the sale.

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