People often assume that a real estate agent is there to represent them and their interests. Sadly, this is not always the case. Neither state or federal law prohibits a real estate agents from having conflicting interests, and some exploit that loophole to the fullest extent possible. Learn more about “dual agency” among real estate agents, including how it could affect your next real estate transaction, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton real estate attorneys can minimize the risks.
Dual Agency in Real Estate – What It Is and Why It Matters
In an ideal world, a real estate agent would work with only the buyer or the seller – never both. Sadly, dual agency is extremely common among agents. In this scenario, the agent provides services to both the buyer and the seller, and that allows them to keep the entire commission. In short, the only interests they are representing are their own, and that can create all kinds of issues in a real estate transaction.
As an example, consider a situation in which the seller informs the agent that they recently learned of some foundation issues with the house. Instead of disclosing the full extent of the details to potential buyers of the house, the agent may then downplay the severity of the issue. As a result, the buyer loses money on a house that is unfairly priced.
Avoiding Dual Agency in Your Next Real Estate Transaction
The one key thing that buyers and sellers can do to protect themselves from the consequences of dual agency is to ensure they know whose interest their agent is serving. Ask them, point blank, if they are representing you exclusively, and if they have a fiduciary duty to do so. These are known as single agents. Other types of real estate agents – most of which you will want to avoid – include subagents, who work with the buyer but have a duty to the seller; transactional agents, who facilitate the transaction but have no responsibility to either party; and dual agents, who are somehow supposed to represent the interests of both parties in a real estate transaction.
Our Wheaton Real Estate Lawyers Can Protect Your Interests in a Sale or Purchase
Finding a single agent can be difficult, so not all buyers and sellers can rely solely on the ability to do so. Instead, know that there are other ways to protect your interests during the purchase or sale of a home. The seasoned DuPage County real estate lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can help. Call 630-655-2500 to schedule your consultation today.