Mar 11, 2008
Is Dual Agency in the public’s best interest? Part 1 of 2
11 Mar 2008
Posted by VAR
I have an agenda, and have for a couple of years, and that is to rid the real estate profession of the scourge of Single-Agent Dual Agency. I’ve written about the problems and solutions extensively over the years, and my position has evolved from advocating against all forms of Dual Agency to acquiescing to the reality that Designated Agency may be a necessary evil. This post has been percolating for some time, but the time is right, and I have found an eloquent ally as well …
Who benefits from Dual Agency? The Realtor.
One of the primary values a Realtor brings to a transaction is representation – representation of his client’s best interests. How can a Realtor advocate for the best interests of both parties and still maintain the perception of fairness and full representation? In my mind, there is a difference between treating all parties fairly and honestly and being able to advocate with 100% vigor for one party.
Realtors practice dual agency all the time – successfully. Never had I had someone remark how much they appreciated their agent representing both sides. I have been told numerous times by clients how they perceived their agent in a shady, less-than-honest manner because that agent had both the buyer and seller.
Dual agency devalues Exclusive Representation.
In a divorce, would you have the same attorney represent both parties?
I am privileged and please to have found a member of the VAR Policy Board is another vehement advocate against Dual Agency. What follows is an email from Joe Vita, an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent in Lexington and Rockbridge County.
While it may seem like an easy issue for people like you and I to address and defend, it would take quite a lot to get the majority of Virginia’s agents to go along with the abolition of dual agency. While the problems with dual agency are easy to identify, the solution will be complicated.
I know that there are members of the Real Estate Board that recognize the problems with dual agency as it seems to come up at seminars they have conducted at VAR’s meetings as one of the most serious and common complaints about agents they receive. But I don’t know if they have ever given any serious thought to a proposal to eliminate of dual agency. While they could be the source of some change themselves, it is much more likely that either consumers or VAR would have to drive the agenda.
I doubt very seriously that VAR’s leadership has ever considered it for a minute as there isn’t any impetus coming from membership that I am aware of at this time .
I don’t know if any legislators are even aware of any problems with dual agency or would care about it unless a demand for change came from the public or VAR.
I’m not aware of any consumer organizations in our state that have expressed concern about it but believe that there are national groups that may be concerned. I suppose that a consumer’s revolt could occur but it doesn’t look like something that will be coming down the road any time soon.
I’m not aware of the federal government getting interested in this area of our business practice though they always seem to be looking into something involving our business practices.
MLS operations appear to be their soup du jour.
So, it would appear that unless at least one of the five main sources for change decides that it is in their best interest to get behind the eradication of dual agency, it will not get done.
Part 2 to be published on Thursday.