Advice to Would-Be Home Sellers on Dual Agency: “Don’t”

[Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.]

If your prospective Realtor won’t agree to adding the clause above to your listing contract . . . you should consider hiring another agent.

In fact, I feel so strongly about that stance that I’ve included that language in every listing I’ve ever taken.

Conflict of Interest

Why is that promise such a big deal for would-be Sellers?

Because otherwise, you have no assurance that your agent won’t also be negotiating against you, in their capacity representing your Buyer.

I don’t know about other agents, but I don’t know how to negotiate against myself.

Mutually Exclusive Roles

Instead, agents who represent both the Buyer and Seller in the same transaction ” a practice called “dual agency” ” essentially play a neutral, “Switzerland-like” role, providing information to both sides, but doing nothing to advantage one client at the expense of their other client.

Contrast that with the role I believe clients want and expect their Realtor to perform ” indeed, are paying them a lot of money to do.

Namely, as Sellers, helping them get the most money for their home, from the strongest financially qualified buyer; or, as, Buyers, helping them get the most home for the least amount of money . . .

See also, “Dual Agent” vs. “Double Agent”; “Realtor Job Description, Circa 2017“; and “Pocket Listings”: Good for Agents, Bad for Clients.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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