Dual Agency under fire in Virginia?

From the head of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Real Estate Board, Schaefer Oglesby:

We are still seeing numerous cases involving dangerous practice of dual agency. Remember, if something goes wrong with the transaction, you are probably at fault. (italics and bolding mine)

The newsletter is here (PDF). The above is from the quarterly newsletter distributed by the RE Board. That’s a succinct summation of dual agency.If the head of the Real Estate Board finds dual agency dangerous, why do so many Realtors do it?

How long until Dual Agency is outlawed? My opinion? If your agent advocates for Dual Agency, question their motives. Dual agency should be a last resort, a reluctant decision reached only after full disclosure and explanation to all involved parties.

Much more on Dual Agency here.

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  1. Stormy May 1, 2007 at 14:28

    My parents recently sold my grandfather’s home after he passed away last year. The agent was a friend of my parents in high school, some 40+ years ago. She worked with my folks to set the price of the house, about 5% lower than my thumbnail estimate would have pegged it at. After waiting two months to put it on the market officially (snow and lousy weather pushed her back in the commonwealth north of the Mason-Dixon line where the home was), she came back within four days with three offers, one of which was for 100% of the asking price. Guess who was the agent, or should I say dual agent? My folks seem happy with the asking price and the agent, but I’m a bit steamed at the ease with which the agent’s firm (and it’s her name on the door) will pocket a cool 5% of the purchase price.

    This isn’t a great comment, but I definitely felt the need to vent. Thanks for providing the forum.

  2. Jim Duncan May 1, 2007 at 14:51

    Thanks for the comment – feel free to vent anytime. 🙂

    Your story, as I read it, could have gone either way – it could have been a great story showing the merits of dual agency “done right,” or the way you described it – which benefits the agent the most.

  3. Stormy May 1, 2007 at 15:44

    True, it can be seen either way. My antennae went up wheh she discounted the fee to 5% “because they were friends,” not that 5% is the new 6% in most parts of the country, from my reading of conventional wisdom. Then the delays in putting the house on the market. Plus the attorney’s appraisal for estate tax purposes was higher than both her number and even mine. Then this wonderful full-price offer and the dual-agency addendum that arrived with the contract just days after the listing went to MLS. I think she had the buyer in mind when she set the price, not the sellers. She loses out on “only” $500 in commission, my folks lose out on close to $10,000, if I can believe my numbers. I think it was Freakonomics that talked about real estate agents not holding out for the absolute best offer, but rather the best quick offer so they can move on. Okay, I’m really done now. I’d rather talk about wine or CSAs or fun things like those!