Who isn’t looking for more ways to sue dual agents in California? I hear from a lot of real estate clients around the country who are upset with their agents, and many of those complaints center on dual agency. They read an article I wrote about dual agency or contingencies or some other legal matter in real estate and call. In case you don’t know, in simple terms, dual agency occurs when the seller’s agent is also the buyer’s agent. This is when sellers find out too late that paying their own agent to represent a buyer might not be in their best interest. Or, buyers discover that trying to manipulate a listing agent into divulging confidential information may have backfired. By attempting to buck the system, buyers may end up with no agent advocating for them.
Let us be very clear that I am not an agent who believes in making Sacramento sellers close escrow, especially when it is not in the seller’s best interest. I don’t know why this attitude should come as a surprise to so many buyer agents. But maybe, on second thought, they get their knickers in a twist because they can’t fathom it. Perhaps making Sacramento sellers close escrow seems normal to them. Too focused on that paycheck. These agents do not understand that by focusing on their client and not on the financial reward, they could buy a house in Hawaii, for example. Just sayin’.
An online newsletter I received this morning contained a synopsis of an ethics case that was interesting not because of things a Sacramento Realtor cannot say about a listing but because of the things the Realtor did not say. I am very cognizant that at all times a Sacramento Realtor who represents the seller has established a fiduciary relationship, which results in a legal duty to the seller.
Solely seeking seller representation makes my job easy, because I focus on my sellers. I have a duty to treat the buyer fairly, but my alliance is aligned with the seller. This means when a buyer’s agent asks: Is there wiggle room in your listing, I might reply they can pay more than list price.
If you asked a thousand people whether it’s permissible for the buyer’s agent to contact a Sacramento listing agent after closing, expecting her to further question the seller on the buyer’s behalf, I bet 999 of those people would respond: why not? It seems innocent enough. The buyer forgot to ask about something or discovered some new fact and would like more information, right? I mean, who else would the buyer ask? Buyers don’t always understand fiduciary, and neither do agents.
Among the many homes I sell, this particular home in East Sacramento, I sold many years ago to a charming couple as a second home where they someday hope to retire. Every so often these real estate clients will call me for help because they appeared to be very happy with my services, and they respect the fact I’ve got a ton of experience on which they can rely. It’s not unusual for clients to call and ask for my expert advice. They know I’m not going anywhere and I’ll be in real estate until the day I croak. They can always find me, and I answer my phone.