Dual agency is the practice of allowing one real estate agent to represent both the seller and the buyer in a single transaction. My advice as a full-time broker? Don’t do it.
I feel very strongly that the only person who benefits from dual agency is the agent. S/he gets to keep both “sides” of the commission. Even if the agent reduces the commission, they still benefit financially — significantly — while the clients lose the sole representation to which they are entitled. How will you know if the amount you saved in commission is more than, or less than the amount you might have saved by having your own agent? You won’t.
Hiring a dual agent is akin to going to court with someone else’s lawyer.
Your agent’s job is to negotiate the best possible terms for you. How can your agent accomplish that objective if his/her loyalties are split? By definition, a single broker can’t get “the best” deal for two separate clients. The best s/he can do is get a “fair” deal for both clients—i.e. neither one comes out better than the other. If you and the other party are both satisfied with that kind of limited and lesser representation, then there is no problem.
Still not convinced that dual agency is a bad idea? Consider this, in many states it isn’t even legal. In this state, brokers are required to provide clients with a 7-page pamphlet explaining the nature of dual agency. Why would that be necessary if there weren’t the potential for significantly negative outcomes for the consumer?
You may be wondering, what do I, as a real estate broker, have to gain by warning you about the pitfalls of dual agency? Absolutely nothing.