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Ethics in Real Estate: Buying and Selling Agents

March 22, 2016

03.15.2016_01When it comes to finding a home, you want to get the best deal that provides what you are looking for in a property. When selling a home, you want the process to go smooth and get a great offer for your investment. One way you can achieve these great results is to hire a Realtor®. A real estate agent understands the local market and latest in regulations and processes. By using the expertise of an agent, you can have a more enjoyable experience, whether you are buying or selling. But does it make a difference if you use one agent to represent both a buyer and seller when an offer is made? The short answer is yes, it makes a big difference, and this is one situation any reputable Realtor® won’t get into.

Think about a real estate transaction in terms of a court hearing. Both parties in a court situation are most likely to hire their own lawyer, relying on their expertise to help them. If you found yourself in a defensive position, you would not ask the plaintiff’s lawyer to represent you. It would be a clear case of conflict of interest. The same situation applies to a real estate sale. If there is one agent representing the seller and buyer, there is a conflict of interest at play. A selling agent works to get the best offer possible for the current owner, and seeks ways to help improve the end price. Selling agents are keen to negotiate on behalf of their client, saving seller costs or enhancing an offer if able. A buying agent works to get the best deal for a buyer, looking for ways to lower the price when possible. These agents want to provide a successful offer for their clients to be happy with their new home. To ask one agent to handle both of these roles puts that person in a place that is bound to cause problems for one or both parties.


So what should you do? Hire a Realtor® before you list or start looking. Selling agents will refer inquiries made by buyers without an agent to another colleague, working with a different brokerage to avoid a conflict of interest. Buying agents will arrange to view homes that they have not listed. If you find yourself seeing a home listed by your agent and you are really interested in it, the best thing to do is to ask your agent for a referral to someone else who can take over as your buying agent. Any agent who genuinely cares about their clients and what they provide as a service will readily agree if this situation should arise.

When you are ready to buy or sell a home, my team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at

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