The Dual Agency Disclosure has to do with the concern of an agent working with both: a buyer and a seller.
It has been found that various agents would help buyers buying either really low (buyer is the agent’s friend) or really high (seller is the agent’s friend) when they work with both sides. For this reason, the disclosure has become mandatory so both the buyer and seller know that there may be a conflict of interest.
A few things to know when a dual agency is created:
- Just like in a non-dual agency, the agent owes a diligent exercise of reasonable skills and care in performance of the real estate licensee’s duties. Only in this case the exercise is owed to both, the buyer and the seller.
- The agent further has the duty of fair dealing and good faith. Again, this applies to both, the buyer and the seller.
- A dual agency is possible only if both, the buyer and the seller, know and understand that they both are represented by the same agent.1
- The agent can only give the buyer the list price. No information can be given about possible lower amounts the seller could accept.
- The agent cannot inform the seller about the buyer’s possibility of offering more than offered.
- The agent has a fiduciary obligation2 to both the buyer and the seller.
- The agent is still obligated to disclose any known material facts that can affect the value of the property.
- Client information, other than material facts about the property (List Price, Broken Door, Visible Mold Infestation, etc.), are considered confidential and cannot be released to any other party.
(Ref. CAL. CIV. § 2079.16)
1 Same agent means represented by the same physical person, two physical people working with the same broker, two broker associates.
2 Fiduciary Obligation — This mainly means that the agent is expected to protect the buyer and seller investment. The seller by making sure the house is not sold for too little and the buyer by making sure the house is not purchased for too much. Although in the end the buyer and seller are in control, the agent is expected to inform both of what is expected for a given property