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Question: Are Dual Roles OK for Real Estate Agents?

Weigh in on our daily question in the comments section.

Do you know what type of real estate agent you purchased your home from?

Yesterday, the New York Times took a look at different types of agents showing, selling and helping you purchase homes in today's market.

"There are seller’s agents, buyer’s agents, broker’s agents, dual agents and even dual agents with designated sales agents — which all sounds more like the cast of characters in a spy film than people involved in a real estate transaction," wrote Elsa Brenner, the article's author.

Briarcliff Manor's  of the Mark Seiden Real Estate Team said he keeps things separate in his office, with different departments for buyer's and seller's agents, to avoid conflicts of interests.

Tarrytown's Gary Herbst, who owns , is one of few agencies that only serves as buyer's agents.  he believes using dual agents puts buyers at a disadvantage.

Other realtors said having one agent represent both sides streamlines the process for everyone involved, while laws require agents to disclose who they represent at the outset.

What type of agent did you purchase your home from? Were you aware of the different types of agents?

Sol Skolnick August 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM
The agent should represent the seller or the buyer. An effective dual agent would need to possess the wisdom of Solomon and moral fiber of Abe Lincoln. Now what are tha chances of that happening?
Peggy Johnston August 13, 2011 at 02:25 PM
I have been a Realtor for 31 years and the premise of Solomon and Lincoln you set forth hapen every day and had been the way real estate was always practiced until recently when agency law was instituted several years ago. Every agent has had to to disclose his allegiance to one party or the other until this year. As of January of 2011, the agency disclosure includes prior permission to allow dual agency or dual agency with designated agents for each party. Did you know that dual agency also encompasses 2 agents in the same office, which can mean 2 agents in the same physical office, 1 agent from a Harrison office and one from Rye or Katonah if part of a single company under one main Broker in Charge. Very few sellers or buyers have had any problem wth this and when they choose an agent they trust him to do what is right and follow the rules of Realtor Ethics in representing them. It is the media which raises doubt, incites controversy and feeds on misperceptions of, not only Relators, but anything and anyone that will aid in circulation. With all of the noteworthy world news and local issues, you would think that this is so miniscule it should not take up space, but I guess it was a slow day for news when this article was written!
Maria Clair-Howard August 13, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Many of us have the HIGHEST standards and make sure we do it by the book. I am an Accredited Buyers Broker with the Real Estate Buyers Agency Council and take my job very seriously. That said - usually I am only in dual agency when it is a listing that is with my company - and I do not know ANYTHING about the seller - but still must protect them as if they were my own. I would be doing a disservice to my buyer client if I was to NOT show them a property that may be perfect for them because it is listed with a colleague. We always must share any material information on a property - what cannot be shared is perhaps a financial stress that may affect what the seller would take for the house or a windfall that may have the seller hold out because we told them the buyer was flush! In any instance, we have one agent represent the seller and another represent the buyer (Designated dual agency)- always with the disclosure to all parties that this is a dual representation - so that both sides DO have seperate representation. Is it less hassle if we only have one side - yes - but it is not practical that we avoid our own listings and not fair to either party. I advocate to go to the system used in Florida and other states of Facilitator - where we simply help both sides reach a meeting of the minds and bring the transaction to the table. It is a less cumbersome system but NY is rarely a leader when it comes to these practices.
Maria Clair-Howard August 13, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Hi Peggy. Well put of course. I have added my two cents above - and as I have always enjoyed working with you - it is good to see you commenting here!

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