Realtor - Amanda S. Davidson: What Is Dual Agency In Virginia?

What Is Dual Agency In Virginia?

What Is Dual Agency In Virginia?

Before I start to get into dual agency I want to point out that this article is speaking only on being an agent in the state of Virginia. I’m not qualified to speak on any other state. Laws vary by state and this article won’t apply to, for example, transaction states. With that said, what is dual agency? In Virginia, I am required by law to explain agency law to a prospective buyer or seller at the first meeting or first substantive conversation about real estate whichever comes first. In Virginia, a real estate agent can represent a seller, a buyer, or both. Dual agency is when an agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction.

 

Virginia Sign

 

While most people recognize the benefits of having their own exclusive representation there are often questions that come up about agency because it hasn’t been properly explained. It’s not something a consumer deals with every day and if it’s not properly explained you may not know what you’re agreeing too.

 

If you consent to dual agency understand that your agent won’t be able to answer a plethora of questions. Examples…

 

Buyer Questions -

How much is the house worth?

What should I offer on the house?

Should I ask for closing cost assistance?

What repairs should I ask for after the home inspection?

Question Marks

 

Seller Questions -

Should I counter the buyer's offer?

What should I do about a low appraisal?

What repairs should I agree too?

 

With dual agency, it’s very important to know the agent does not represent your interests as a fiduciary. Dual agency is actually illegal in some states. I don't agree with it and hope that the day comes it's illegal in all states.

 

In an exclusive agency agreement with your agent, your information is kept confidential, your agent will push for your best interests throughout the transaction, and advise you throughout the entire process. Your agent will also (and this is a big one) disclose ALL information that is relevant to you as the client. Bottom line, your agent will always be working to achieve the very best outcome for you. With dual agency that's not happening.

 

handshake

 

Yes, it is legal in Virginia for an agent to represent both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction but, only with the consent of both parties in writing. When acting as a dual agent the agent legally has to be neutral in regard to any conflicting interests of the buyer and seller. What does that mean? A dual agent cannot satisfy the duties of full disclosure, advice throughout the entire transaction on every step, or even loyalty - if an agent is legally bound to be neutral on conflicting interests there is no loyalty. 

 

When explaining dual agency I compare it to a lawyer representing the plaintiff and the defendant in the same case. If you were facing a lawsuit or criminal charges would you hire the same lawyer the plaintiff is using? No! That doesn’t even make sense to think of. It’s not possible to represent multiple parties in the same transaction and maintain each of their best interests at all times.

 

Gavel

 

Again, agency differs from state to state and it’s important to understand how it works in your specific state. In my professional opinion dual agency doesn’t benefit the buyer or the seller and it’s something I never have and never will practice. You should hire an agent whom you trust to exclusively represent your best interests at all times during the transaction.

 

 

 

 

Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group

 

 

      

 

Amanda Davidson

Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group

Broker - Owner
Licensed in VA and DC

5680 King Centre Drive #600
Alexandria, VA 22315

Cell: 703.431.3755
Fax: 703.562.7057




Comment balloon 22 commentsAmanda S. Davidson • January 21 2019 12:40AM

Comments

Hello Amanda,  Great information to have for your state.  I can see pros and cons with it.  Have a great day!

Posted by Will Hamm, "Where There's a Will, There's a Way!" (Hamm Homes) 2 months ago

Hi Amanda- - -since real estate is state- by- state you're smart in identifying the terminology as it applies in Virginia. 

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 2 months ago

Great job, Amanda... I've always considered dual agency a conflict of interest. And I always explain to clients that in dual agency I can no longer represent their best interests... all I can do is take message back and forth between buyer and seller.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) 2 months ago

Will Hamm thank you! I don't think it's good for a buyer or a seller but, I do see it put into practice here regularly. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) 2 months ago

Michael Jacobs thank you, hoping it avoids confusion if someone that isn't in VA reads it because the laws can vary so drastically. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) 2 months ago

Nina Hollander I think it is too. Your explanation to your clients is spot on.

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) 2 months ago

Amanda, luckily Colorado eliminated this form of agency several years ago.  We have only agency and transaction broker.

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) 2 months ago

We also are able to do dual agency, and obviously in some cases our broker is a dual agent but with different agents, so then we have what is called designated agents. The agents are designated to work and represent their own client. It is then up to all parties to protect their clients interests and make sure their information is not shared inadvertently with the other side. We prefer to only represent one party and to give them our fiducary duty.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) 2 months ago

Joan Cox I think it speaks volumes that some states have eliminated it. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) 2 months ago

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 we have designated agency here too, thank you for adding that point to this article. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) 2 months ago

Our state is similar, we try to avoid it though. We have rarely done it unless the parties are very sophisticated and level headed. Honestly, it's not the best case scenario for anyone - I hear so many agents boast about getting both sides of the deal. Double-dipping. We had a chance to do it a few years back in a neighborhood where we lived - and sold new construction - we didn't do it though, we LIVED there. Imagine if a buyer had  become disgruntled down the road about something...It's a very difficult line to walk. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 2 months ago

Good evening Amanda S. Davidson ,

Real estate is local and practiced so differently. You were wise to mention that right up front. We practice Intermediary status in Austin which is similar. I'm sure readers will appreciate your detailed explanation of how real estate works in Virginia.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) about 2 months ago

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD there are so many things that could have come back on you if you had done it. I am sure you sleep well knowing that's not something that will ever come back to haunt you. I agree it's a very difficult line to walk. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) about 2 months ago

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR thank you. It really is local and I think that can be confusing for consumers. Knowing what applies to the state they're buying or selling in is important. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) about 2 months ago

Hi Amanda S. Davidson - Excellent explanation of dual agency.  Every one has their own opinion on this subject on whether or not they will represent both parties.  Arizona does have dual agency. Each party and transaction is different which will result in varied decisions and conclusions on representation. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 2 months ago

I like your disclaimer at the beginning. Laws are different but people don't always realize that.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 2 months ago

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® thank you for your comment! 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) about 2 months ago

Sharon Tara thank you, hoping it avoids confusion if someone who doesn't live in Virginia is looking for info on dual agency. 

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) about 2 months ago

Amanda S. Davidson - You always do a great job in being specific about your area. All buyers and sellers should know they will be in good hands with you. All Agents should know they can trust that you will be the best for any referrals too!

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) about 2 months ago

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP thank you! I try to be specific, would never want confusion since laws vary so much by each state. Wishing you a wonderful day!

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) about 2 months ago

Hi Amanda - I think this is also true in NY.  It certainly needs to be disclosed since there are issues about which interest is served. 

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) about 2 months ago

Grant Schneider I agree, thank you for stopping by!

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) about 2 months ago

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