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Dual Agents and Fiduciary Responsibility...Huh?

What Is A Dual Agent?
What Is A Dual Agent?

Dual Agents and Fiduciary Responsibility in Sharon MA - Part 2

Dual Agents and Fiduciary Responsibility in Sharon MA - Part 2

The Sharon MA real estate market is a Sellers' Market right now. There are only 25 active single family homes listed for sale; less that a month's worth of inventory. As a result, there is a lot of pent up demand for homes. This is why we saw a significant number of homes receive multiple bids in 2013, often selling above list price. Now is a great time to get your home ready for sale. 

In a previous post, I wrote about "Why a "Pocket Listing" Hurts Sellers in Sharon MA.  In this post, I'll explain more about a Dual Agent and Fiduciary Responsibiity. 

My Commitment to You

In any market, one of the goals of your Seller’s Agent is to market your home to the broadest possible audience of potential buyers. When I list your home for sale there are many things I will do to market your home. The more interest in your home, the more competition, which will result in selling your home for the highest possible price.

One thing I will not do is try to sell your home to my own buyer. When I have buyers who are interested in your home, I will refer them to work with a buyer’s agent in another firm. I have chosen never to work as a Dual Agent.

What is a Dual Agent?

When an agent represents you AND the Buyer in the same transaction, he is acting as a Dual Agent. Both you and the buyer must give written permission for an agent to act as a Dual Agent. 

Is it ethical to be a Dual Agent? Perhaps a better question is, "Does it accurately meet the fiduciary responsibility that all agents are required to uphold?" The answer is, "No." 

What Does Fiduciary Responsibility Mean?

Under Massachusetts law, I have fiduciary responsibilities to my clients. Fiduciary responsibilities are the highest duties known to the law. The specific fiduciary responsibilities are: 

The responsibility of "Loyalty" specifically obligates a real estate agent to act at all times SOLELY in the best interests of her client to the exclusion of all other interests, including the agent's own self-interest. Real estate agents are required to avoid any conflicts of interest that might compromise or dilute the agent's undivided loyalty to her client's interests. A real estate agent's "Loyalty" prohibits her from accepting employment from any person whose interests compete with, or are unfavorable to, her client's interests.

A Dual Agent CANNOT Fulfill Their Fiduciary Responsibilities

Can one agent maintain their fiduciary responsibilities to both you AND their own buyer? The answer is, "No."  A Dual Agent must make it clear that you are giving up your right to undivided loyalty.  That's why the practice of "Dual Agent" is illegal in many states, although not yet in Massachusetts. 

1. While a Dual Agent cannot break any confidences, you may need to be careful about what you say. 

When asked, "Why are they selling", you don't want your Dual Agent to tell the Buyers, "They're getting divorced". Oh! You mean they have to sell! 

2. Your dual agent cannot advise you or the buyer on price, which means that you are negotiating on your own.

3. When the Dual Agent is collecting both sides of the commission it may be very difficult to ensure that you have received the best offer.

An article by Donna Fuscaldo printed in FoxBusiness, June 12, 2013 entited "Working With a Dual Agency: What You Need to Know" stated, "To help compete (in markets with low inventory) some buyers are incentivizing agents by offering them the opportunity to represent them as well as the seller. Under these circumstances, dual agents get the full commission as both buyer and seller (agent)."

Your agent's fiduciary responsibilities to you need never be compromised.

You should always know that you have the right to be represented by an agent who is loyal only to you throughout the entire transaction.

When you are ready to sell your home in Sharon MA, I would love the opportunity to earn your trust and business. Reading my blog posts can help you get to know how I work, my beliefs and values and my knowledge of the local real estate market. Please call me at 781-883-3764 so we can set up a time to talk. I will be happy to provide a free market analysis of your home so we can discuss the market value in the current market. 

Coming Next: What Is the Difference Between Dual Agent and Designated Agency?

Read: Why a Pocket Listing Hurts Sellers in Sharon MA - Part 1

To Read the Original of this Post with Color Pictures

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marc Cohen February 08, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Nina. Very well put Impressive Marc Cohen
Nina Rogoff May 19, 2014 at 01:28 AM
Thank you, Marc!

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