California Debates Whether Dual Agents Have a Place in Real Estate

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According to the OC Register, many people are wondering: is it necessary to have double agents when it comes to selling real estate (a separate agent for the buyer and for the seller, rather than having one real estate agent handle them both)? Some would say it can be done with just one agent.

Not surprisingly, the practice is a controversial one, and there are benefits and detractions listed by both sides. The concept of dual agency is now going to the California Supreme Court, and the outcome could majorly shake up the California real estate industry and many of the practices that are quite common today.

There is a great deal of concern about this ruling in the California real estate community,? explained Bob Hunt, a director of the California Association of Realtors in discussion with the OC Register. When it comes to real estate legal assistance in purchases, what are the complications?

Dual Agents Need to be Impartial

When one agent handles both the buyer and the seller, they need to be careful about what information they share and how they proceed in order to avoid favoring one client over the other. It would be inappropriate, for example, to tell the buyer that the seller is desperate to sell the house because they need to move soon, or need the money to pay back medical bills. This could encourage the buyer to underbid. Lee Stimmel, who offers real estate legal assistance in California, argues that conflicts of interest are so easy to come across that the job of being a dual agent is nearly impossible.

There are Benefits

Others see it more ambiguously, claiming that dual agents understand the motivations behind each side and are in a better position to get a deal closed quickly and efficiently, saving both sides time, money and worry. Many argue that the relationship with the agent is unique and similar to a bartender or a friend — it?s not like buying a generic burger at McDonalds.

The case coming to California right now concerns a discrepancy about the size of a bought home. The home was sold as having 15,000 square feet of living space, yet the county?s records list it as only being a bit over 9,000 square feet. The buyer is now suing the company his dual agent was working for, claiming that the agent had a vested interest in hiding this information and breached fiduciary duty.

The outcome of this case remains to be seen. Not surprisingly, it makes sense to hire real estate attorneys when you are experiencing issue with home ownership or buying. You don?t want to find out down the line that you?re missing 5,000 square feet!

Do you need any real estate legal assistance? Let us know about your case.

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