There are over 7,400 real estate brokers in the state of Washington. Can you believe that? It seems having your real estate license is basically the same as having your driver’s license. Tfhere are a TON of real estate brokers around. Which AS a real estate broker, obviously, kind of sucks.
It’s a tad competitive
There is a lot of competition among brokers. We are in no shortage, and we take our careers seriously. We are constantly continuing our education, we are expanding ourselves and our knowledge to share that with our clients, and serve them better. We learn about how to market your properties so they reach the most people, and shine a light on your home to attract the RIGHT attention…people that actually are wanting to buy right now. We take pride in representing you well, helping you make decisions, and prepare your property for the market. We want you to get the absolute top dollar for your home that the market will support today….so if your property doesn’t appraise, or a buyer doesn’t appear…it is a hit to our ego and our efforts. Bottom line is, we care!
Dual Agency is LIMITED Agency
But are we all the same? Are those of us that do this full time and take it seriously all in agreement about the best practices or what client representation means? No, not even close. That is why before you hire someone to represent you, you should really be clear on their values and practices. One practice is extremely common, and accepted among real estate brokers that I am here to tell you is a load of crap, and you should NEVER accept it. This is practice of DUAL AGENCY (now called LIMITED agency to be more clear to sellers and buyers). Dual agency can mean the buyer’s broker (or the selling broker) and the seller’s broker (or the listing broker) work for the same brokerage…but that isn’t the type of dual agency I have an issue with. The type of dual agency I can’t wrap my brain around being an ethical choice is when ONE agent represents both the seller and buyer in a transaction.
Dual agency, or limited agency, essentially removes the main job of a real estate broker. No longer can the broker advise the seller…or the buyer. If our experience and education can’t be used to advise our clients….we are essentially just paper pushers. We push the paperwork from the seller to the buyer, and from the buyer to the seller. Legally when representing both sides of a transaction you can explain the paperwork, but give no opinions ,or share common practices, or your experience. Sharing your opinions and experience is considered advising, which you are not allowed to do. So how is the broker doing their job? They aren’t in my opinion. Often, for this terrible service the agent earns TWICE the commission. That’s right. They get twice the money because they collect both the buyer’s and the seller’s broker’s commissions. For being a paper pusher.
You Deserve Representation
If you are considering selling your home, ask the brokers you are considering hiring what their thoughts are on dual (or limited)agency. Do they practice it? (MOST DO) How do they defend it? Do they understand they can no longer advise you as the seller? What do YOU, as the seller, have to gain by the listing agent also representing the buyer? (Nothing, and stand lose a lot…but ask the brokers you might hire this question.) Dual agency in my opinion is a way for a real estate broker to double their commission and take none of the responsibility of advising. It is very celebrated when an broker “double dips” a deal in real estate offices…but it isn’t the type of celebrating I would want done on my dime. If the broker offers to reduce the commission you as the seller have to pay (rare) …that is at least something…but keep in mind what you are paying for this service. No longer will you be fully represented in your sale. So sure, you may save 1 or 2%, but in exchange you might be paying for something for the buyer that you should or could negotiate off the contract but aren’t aware that you could do that. Or, the buyer may just be taking that reduced commission off what they will pay you for the home.
If you are a buyer, also NEVER call the listing broker. You are only putting yourself in a position of not being represented. That commission reduction will not be off the price YOU pay…it will be off the commissions the seller pays. Might they pass that on to you? Maybe…but maybe they would have paid your closing costs, bought you a home warranty, left the refrigerator and washer and dryer for you, but you didn’t ask because you weren’t fully represented!
Make sure to hire the best real estate broker to help you make the best decisions when buying or selling!