HB 1907 – Talking About Single Agent Dual Agency in Virginia

Transcript after the fold:

Good Morning, Jim Duncan with Nest Realty here thinking about and talking about dual agency or specifically single agent dual agency.  This is something that I’ve been advocating against for years and when we founded Nest it was one of our core principles in that realtors, agents in our firm would not do single agent dual agency.  In short, that means that both sides of a transaction, a buyer and seller would be represented by the same agent and in my opinion that representation would be worthless because you can’t represent both sides in the same transaction effectively.  I’m open to debate on that but it’s something I feel very strongly about.  I take representation very seriously.

But now there’s a bill in the General Assembly that the Virginia Association of Realtors thank goodness has worked extremely hard to do full disclosure.  I sat on a committee or two for a couple of years that worked on this to get it through and finally it’s in.  If you want to look it’s House Bill 1907 which is real estate board approved continuing education for renewal brokerage, etc. and licensure.  I think this is a huge victory to get this bill in front of the general assembly.  Just that in and of itself is a victory and what it does, and it’s 20 or 30 pages to look at, but specifically it does not outlaw or make illegal single agent dual agency.  What it does is it says that realtors agents can do (and there’s a difference  between realtors and agents) agents, licensees can do disclosed dual agency if they disclose it up front and if they explain to the buyer and seller what they cannot do from that dual agent position going forward.  Specifically, and this is why I think it’s a victory because it outlines what a dual agent cannot do and this has been the same since buyer agency existed.  This just outlines it and defines it for the consumers.

Number one: following the commencement of dual representation, the licensee will be unable to advise either party as to the terms, offers or counteroffers however the licensee may have previously advised one party as to the terms prior to the commencement of dual representation.  So if I’m the agent trying to represent both sides, I can represent both sides, I just can’t tell anybody – give them any advice whatsoever about the offers.

Number two: the licensee cannot advise the buyer client as to the suitability of the property, its condition other than to make an disclosures as required by law of any licensee representing a seller and it cannot advise other parties as to repairs of the property to make or request.  So you know, again, I can represent both sides I just can’t give any advice whatsoever to either party because in doing so I would be violating my fiduciary responsibilities to both sides at the same time.

Number three: that the licensee cannot advise either party in any dispute that might arise later relating to the transaction.  Okay so again, a dual agent cannot advise either side.

And number four: that the licensee will be acting without familiarity with the clients’ needs, clients’ experience in the market or clients’ experience in handling real estate transactions unless he has gained that information from earlier contact with the client.  Again, part of what I do as a good buyers agent and good listing agent is I listen to my clients and I advise and I guide and I do what’s right for my client.  A dual agent cannot do that by law and this isn’t new.  This just outlines specifically what a dual agent cannot do.  

So in closing I think that my hope and expectation is that this bill will get passed.  Well my hope is that it will get passed.  My expectation is that it probably won’t just because I tend to be realistic or pessimistic by nature but in closing, House bill 1907 I think in and of itself is a victory to define for the consumers what cannot be done by a single agent dual agent.  It’s something that again I’ve advocated against for years.  I think the consumers deserve representation and I think that this is a way for consumers to educate themselves because realistically agents are still going to try to do dual agency but now consumers are empowered with knowledge about specifically upfront what the limitations are.

My name is Jim Duncan with realcentralva.com, Nest Realty here in Charlottesville Virginia.  Happy to debate this with anybody who is interested.  (434) 242-7140, realcentralva.com

Have a good day.

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  1. Pzemliansky January 19, 2011 at 17:38

    Thanks Jim, this is very helpful indeed.

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  3. Andrea Guillot January 20, 2011 at 19:56

    This is an incredible post with a video that is worth watching. Great information.

  4. Joe February 4, 2011 at 06:55

    Great news, Jim. A step in the right direction for sure. My only remainng concern is the timing required for the new full disclosure given by the prospective dual agent. Do you think the law makes it clear that it needs to be done before the agent is privy to the buyer client’s information so that it cannot be used against him if he opts out of the dual agent realtionaship?

    1. Jim Duncan February 4, 2011 at 14:24

      Joe –

      Admittedly, that’s one of the limitations of the bill.

      I’d like to think that this would be part of one of the first conversations about agency.


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