Dual Agency is having the same real estate agent represent the buyer that represents the seller.
There are only 8 states that BAN dual agency. Mississippi is NOT one of them. Mississippi allows for it. So, when you are looking for a house with an agent, this might be an issue only if the agent shows you a house that his or her broker has listed AND you like it enough to purchase. Then that agent is working for both you and the seller.
Before you start looking at houses with an agent you should be handed a disclosure of agency form. This will explain to you the fiduciary duties in both a single agency and dual agency situation. Know your rights. Know what that agent can and cannot do for you.
If you are a buyer and really do not like this dual agency situation, talk to your agent about it. There are solutions for everything. For example, I have an agreement with an agent outside of my broker’s office who will help any of my buyers in this situation. If she shows the house and the buyer doesn’t like it, I continue to help the buyer. If they do like it, than that agent can work to get the house sold. So, please don’t assume that you have to deal with dual agency if it is against your convictions. Talk to your agent. You may also find that it works o.k.
Likewise, in a situation where you go to a neighborhood to look at the new construction and sit down with an agent representative, you have just entered into a dual agency situation. You want to buy into the neighborhood and the agent is now helping both you and the builder/contractor.
I want you to be aware of this before searching for a new home in a new development.
Your own agent will have your best interest in mind. Your agent will:
- help you negotiate
- know the law and will work it in your favor
- make sure custom orders and upgrades are delivered as ordered
- inform you of warranties
- handle documentation of everything
- identify issues you might not be aware of
- keep confidential information
- advise you on what personal information not to disclose to the listing agent
- encourage inspections
These are just a few things your own agent can do for you. Shop around for an agent; there is plenty of information on the internet these days so that you don’t have to sit for hours interviewing each agent until you find one you like. Trust your instincts and enjoy the company of an agent you has your best interest in mind. If you do find a personality conflict or find that the agent you hired is not helping you as you wish, providing you haven’t signed a Buyers Agency Contract, simply fire your agent in writing and move on. This rarely happens but can.
The best thing you can do as a buyer is know your rights, have an agent working for YOU and communicate fully with him or her.
Eileen Saunders, SRES, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655 662-404-0816 / 662-234-5344 firstname.lastname@example.org Equal Housing