Dual Agency and Designated Presentation
Buyer representation has increased the number of transactions where
a REALTOR may have overlapping brokerage relationships.
This occurs when a buyer client of a real estate company wants to
buy one of that company's listings. Even if different REALTORS are working
with the different clients, their dual loyalties are created through their
company, which has legal and contractual obligations to both clients.
Virginia law allows a real estate firm or agent to represent both
sides of a real estate transaction as long as all the parties consent... in writing, prior to contract negotiations.
There are two directions in which the transaction can proceed:
Option 1: standard dual representation
Scenario: A buyer client wants to buy property listed by his/her
Because the company has a legal obligation to represent both parties,
and may know confidential information about one party of value to the other
party, there are limits on what the company or agent can do.
In effect, dual representation limits the REALTOR to a neutral
The company or agent must not disclose any information that is
confidential or would create a negotiating advantage for either client, such
as if the seller will take less or the buyer will pay more. Price, terms
and motivation are not to be discussed with the opposite party.
--- I recommend this option if the buyer is comfortable with that REALTOR
and does not feel at a disadvantage at having lost full representation.
Option 2: designated dual representation
Scenario: A buyer client wants to buy property listed within his agent's
company and NOT listed by his agent.
In this case, the real estate company designates the buyer's agent
to represent the buyer and the listing agent to represent the seller. The
broker oversees the transaction and represents each party. Each designated
agent will offer full service to his client.
The broker maintains the confidentiality of any client information which
could be of value to either side in negotiations; for example...the seller
had a financial setback...or the buyer just won the lottery.
The two designated reps must not share confidential information,
but they are free to gather important information from outside sources, free
to help with negotiations, and will be thinking first of their client's needs
--- I recommend this option. It keeps the playing field level, offers
full representation to all parties and clearly delineates
As a buyer or seller you are not required to agree to either situation. If
you are uncomfortable and refuse the dual agency or designated representative
relationships, the agent must choose which party to represent, and the other
party (buyer or seller)is free to arrange other representation for that
Thanks for agency material provided by:
The Virginia Association of REALTORS