OK OK I’m going to step up to plate. (do I need a flame proof suit?)
First of all DISCLOSURE: Often I am a dual agent, I work in a niche market – horse properties & farms. I am broker/owner of a small firm Valley of Virginia Real Estate, within my firm I have no possibility of Designated Dual Agency.
When I started in Real Estate I thought seriously about being an Exclusive Buyers Representative but as I started working with buyers & showing farms I discovered many, not all, listing agents of horse properties just did not understand the horse aspects of the property. They were trying to sell the house that oh btw there is a “barn out there too, I’ve never been in it but I think you can store about 6 ponies in it & there’s a riding rink too”. Hint – horse folk usually could care less about the house -they want all the details about the horse facilities. After seeing this type of information more times than I want to count, I started listing horse properties so I could better serve the clients – both sellers & buyers. I guess you could say lack of specific knowledge on other agents part drove me to Dual Agency.
My average time from first contact with a seller or buyer client to closing is often well over a year. I build relationships with clients based on the expected Real Estate expertise & my clients very specific needs which require special knowledge of horses, land, riding styles, hay sources, local instructors, equine vets, show schedules, just to name a few. Most of my sellers require & expect me to be present for all showings – most live in fear of something happening to their horses, dogs, cats. They also know most agents just flat don’t know enough about the horse world to be effective. Buyer clients seek me out because they know I have specialized knowledge of horses & riding.
“Candy has had horses and ridden for a long time and so she was able to understand how functional the farm was. Also, horse people have their own language and she “fit right in” with whoever she showed the farm to”
I’ve had more than one client tell me that if I’d shown up in a fancy car with a dress & heels they would have shared a cup of coffee with me, thanked me for my time & said goodbye. I am one of those blue jean wearing , big loud truck driving agent! So what does all this have to do with dual agency?
On first contact with each seller or buyer I explain agency with emphasis on Single Agent Dual Agency. I let them know up front that my firm cannot offer Dual Designated Agency. I send them home with information on Agency to read. If they are not comfortable with Dual Agency as a possibility, we either make arrangements for referral, identify another agent with another firm that can represent their interests or part ways on good informed basis. This conversation is repeated throughout the process.
Do I recommend Single Agent Dual Agency for everyone? NO!!!
It takes a special REALTOR. One that is a stickler for COE & one that is willing to work hard to do it right. Agency & Agency Law must go hand & hand with the COE. Its hard work, it takes extra time, specific education (I highly recommend taking Marcie Roggow’s Class: Negotiating in Dual Agency), specific consent ( IMHO – above & beyond signing the VAR Form on Agency), specific rules during negotiations, specific education to all parties & above & before all – DISCLOSURE!