The National Association of Realtors has noted that a growing number of buyers desire to work directly with the listing agent on properties. In NC, this creates a relationship that the state defines as “Dual Agency.” Another way of looking at it is that the “Dual Agent” is both the “Seller’s Agent” and “Buyer’s Agent” combined.
Many persuasion pieces have been written to encourage buyers to always use a Buyer's Agent because of a supposed difficulty the Dual Agent may have in advancing the interests of both the buyer and the seller. Supposedly a Dual Agent’s loyalty is divided between parties with competing interests. This is simply not true, especially for real estate agents working in North Carolina.
Savvy buyers and sellers must cut through the misinformation concerning dual agency and find out what it is really about. Working with a real estate agent serving as a Dual Agent is actually one of the best ways to buy and sell property!
Critics of dual agency purport that an agent cannot represent both sides equally. If it were an adversarial process, and real estate agents were lawyers, and home sales were court cases … then this might be true.
In this courtroom type view, there is always a winner and a loser— but this is simply not the case in a sales transaction. In real estate, the owner sells a property at a price they set and the buyer gains a property at a price that he or she is willing to pay. Both sellers and buyers are winners, and there is no loser.
The great American economist, Milton Friedman, stated: “The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.” It is upon this powerful capitalist principle that real estate brokers answer their call to duty as Dual Agents.
The aim of a Dual Agent is a sales negotiator who brings a deal together that is acceptable to both parties. Discretion is paramount, thus the agent cannot disclose the financial or personal information of either party without permission. The fiduciary duties required of a real estate agent in North Carolina is a high standard ensuring professionalism.
An example of a benefit of using a Dual Agent is in disclosing known faults. A real estate agent is required to disclose any known faults with a property, and the listing agent will always have more knowledge of the property.
Per North Carolina law, a dual agent must balance the interests of both sellers and buyers, and by doing this they are objectively fair to both parties. Unlike working with just a Buyer's Agent or Seller's Agent, the dual agent is the one that can level the playing field for both buyers and sellers.
Working with a Dual Agent is indeed a wise decision. In serving both buyers and sellers in the same transaction, it has been my experience that rarely are the two in an adversarial position, and with every deal conducted and completed, most all parties come out ahead with the professional real estate practice of dual agency.