Dual agency happens when one agent represents both buyer and seller in the same transaction or when one company assigns two different agents within their company to represent buyer and seller respectively in the same transaction. The effect of designated agency is the same as dual agency because the same broker (company) is “designating” two agents from his or her company to represent buyer and seller respectively in the same transaction. The effect is the all the same. It’s dual agency no matter how you color it up. The cartoon above illustrates the effect of dual / designated agency loud and clear.
Buyer advocates in Michigan State are up in arms as they rally support from consumers and consumer advocate groups to stop their state from passing “voluntary designated agency” legislation. According to the article, the gist of this law is as follows:
The proposed law, according to the 26,000 + member Michigan Association of REALTORSÂ® president Carol Frick, is designed to eliminate the inherent conflict of interest and confusion over who represents whom in the state’s current dual agency statute, and would offer agents the ability to offer “exclusive” representation services under the supervision of their broker/managers.
There’s the rub, say the dissenters. “There is nothing new for the consumer, there is no right to exclusive agency if the broker is assigning agents. Is the agent divorcing themselves from the company?” says Renee Knight, chairperson of Realdefenders. “That takes consumer rights away. They (consumers) think they are hiring the whole company when the other agents in the firm can be working against them.”
Designated agency occurs when a home buyer is offered agency representation by the firm that is representing the seller of the same property. The firm designates one of its salespeople to act as the buyer’s agent and another as the seller’s agent, explains a NAEBA release.
Whether buying or selling real estate, consumers need to have options in the market to protect and maintain their interests–especially, since a real estate transaction is a significant life-event and financial investment. Consumers deserve to have the assurance that their agent works exclusively for them and that their agents’ company stands behind their agents work 100% without the added conflict of competing interests that is unavoidable with dual or designated agency.
A friend on MySpace found this awesome picture that does a great job illustrating what dual and designated agency is and why they are both a conflict of interest. This picture is definitely worth a thousand words.
Merry Christmas to all!