Dual Agency Guide

Dual Agency Image

Ever wonder what it would be like to represent a buyer and a seller in a transaction? Well, dual agency is just that. Dual agency is when one real estate agent represents both the buyer and seller in a transaction. 

While it may seem ideal from an agent’s perspective, it can lead to some significant risks, which is why it is illegal in eight states. In most states, though, dual agency is legal, but state laws have measures in place to protect parties that use it. 

This article is the ultimate guide on dual agency. Within it, we will discuss whether or not dual agency is legal in your state and whether or not it’s worth the risk.

What is Dual Agency?

Definition: Dual agency occurs when one real estate agent represents both the buyer and seller in a transaction. A dual agent can not disclose confidential information to either party and must be neutral toward both parties. In most states where dual agency is legal, written consent is almost always required.

The general term, agency refers to the relationship an agent has with a buyer or seller (or in our case, both parties). 

It’s also worth noting, in some states, dual agency refers to two agents working for the same company, each representing a buyer and seller (sometimes referred to as a designated agency). 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Dual Agency?

There are both pros and cons to dual agency for all parties. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of dual agency:

Advantages

Faster Process

Dual agency streamlines the home-buying process. It’s simple math. It’s much easier to coordinate a transaction with three people than four. That’s 25% less hassle in scheduling meetings, times, closing, and more. Dual agency can save tons of time.

Commission and Fees

Commission is probably the most significant advantage of dual agency. Not only do agents get the whole buyer and seller fee, but most agents acting as a dual agent cut the price for both parties, meaning dual agency can be great for everyone (financially speaking).

Disadvantages

Neutrality

It can be tough for agents to remain neutral while acting as a dual agent. Think about it; sellers want to land at a high price while buyers want to land on the lowest one possible. Remember, the higher the sales price, the more commission an agent earns, which creates an apparent conflict of interest.

Communication

While the process may be faster, specific advice and communication have to be limited. For example, a seller can’t ask an agent for listing price advice because the agent can’t take sides in that matter. This can create confusion for all parties.

So is Dual Agency a Good Idea?

If you look elsewhere, some articles suggest dual agency is bad, and others say dual agency is good. So which one is it? Well, I think it’s fair to say dual agency is okay under certain circumstances. While it can represent a risk for all parties, overall, it can save time and money.

Is Dual Agency Legal in my State?

Dual agency law varies from state to state, so it’s important to read and understand the laws for your state. Some states do not specifically define their stance on agency laws while others do, so keep that in mind when you are reading down below. Here are all 50 states and their dual agency laws:

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California
Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia
Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

 

Alabama Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Limited Consensual Dual Agent

“Limited consensual dual agency is an agency relationship where the real estate brokerage company represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction.” Per Alabama Real Estate Commission Rule 790-X-3-.13.

Dual Agent

“When one licensee represents both the buyer and seller in the same sales transaction.” Per Alabama Real Estate Commission Rule 790-X-3-.13.

Information: Alabama Real Estate Commission Official Website

Alaska Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Illegal.

Information: Alaska Real Estate Commission Official Website

Arizona Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Arizona Real Estate Commission Official Website

Arkansas Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Arkansas Real Estate Commission Official Website

California Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent

“Dual agent” means an agent acting, either directly or through a salesperson or broker associate, as agent for both the seller and the buyer in a real property transaction. Per California Real Estate Law, Subdivided Lands Law and Vacation Ownership and Time-Share Act 10018.11.

Information: California Real Estate Commission Official Website

Colorado Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Illegal. In 2003, Colorado eliminated dual-agency. Per Colorado Revised Statutes Title 12 – Professions and Occupations General – Continued Article 61 – Real Estate Part 8 – Brokerage Relationships 12-61-806.

Information: Colorado Real Estate Agency Official Website

Connecticut Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent

“Dual agent” means a real estate broker or real estate salesman who acts in a fiduciary capacity for both the prospective seller or prospective lessor and the prospective buyer or prospective lessee in a real estate transaction. Per Real Estate Laws and Regulations Concerning the Conduct of Appraisers, Brokers and Salespersons Sec. 20-325d-1.

Information: Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and the Connecticut Real Estate Commission Official Website

Delaware Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent

“Dual agent” means a salesperson, associate broker, broker and/or brokerage organization which represents both buyer and seller or tenant and landlord as clients in a real estate services transaction. Per Delaware Real Estate Services, Brokers, Associate Brokers and Salespersons Subchapter I. General Provisions.

Information: Delaware Real Estate Commission Official Website

Florida Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Illegal.

Information: Florida Department of Real Estate Official Website

Georgia Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller. Per O.C.G.A. Section 10-6A-12.

Information: Georgia Real Estate Commission Official Website

Hawaii Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Hawaii Real Estate Department Official Website

Idaho Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal.

Limited Dual Agent or Assigned Agent

A brokerage may represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction only as a limited dual agent and only with the express written consent of all other clients involved in the transaction. Per Chapter 20 Idaho Real Estate License Law.

Information: Idaho Real Estate Commission Official Website

Illinois Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent

An individual licensee may act as a dual agent or a sponsoring broker may permit one or more of its sponsored licensees to act as dual agents in the same transaction only with the informed written consent of all clients. Per Illinois Compiled Statutes.

Information: Illinois Real Estate Division Official Website

Indiana Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Indiana Real Estate Commission Official Website

Iowa Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Disclosed Dual Agent

A brokerage which has a company policy that permits disclosed dual agency for in-house
transactions shall provide a disclosed dual agency consent agreement to the client or prospective client
prior to engaging in any activities of a dual agent. Per Iowa Administrative Code.

Information: Iowa Real Estate Bureau Official Website

Kansas Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Illegal.

Information: Kansas Real Estate Commission Official Website

Kentucky Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent

Kentucky law permits a real estate agent and brokerage to represent both the Seller and Buyer in a real estate transaction as long as this is disclosed to both parties and they both agree. Per Kentucky Agency Disclosure Statement.

Designated Agent

If both seller and buyer consent, the broker responsible for a real estate office may designate agents to represent the seller and the buyer to the exclusion of all other agents associated with his office. The buyer will become the client of the agent designated to represent him and the seller will become the client of the agent designated to represent him. Designated agency allows two licensees in the same firm to represent different parties to a real estate transaction. Per Kentucky Agency Disclosure Statement.

Information: Kentucky Real Estate Commission Official Website

Louisiana Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agency

“Dual agency” means an agency relationship in which a licensee is working with both buyer and seller or both landlord and tenant in the same transaction. However, such a relationship shall not constitute dual agency if the licensee is the seller of property that he owns or if the property is owned by a real estate business of which the licensee is the sole proprietor and agent. A dual agency relationship shall not be construed to exist in a circumstance in which the licensee is working with both landlord and tenant as to a lease which does not exceed a term of three years and the licensee is the landlord. Per Louisiana Law of Agency.

Information: Louisiana Real Estate Commission Official Website

Maine Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Disclosed Dual Agent

 A real estate brokerage agency may act as a disclosed dual agent only with the informed written consent of all parties. Per Maine Chapter 114: Real Estate Brokerage License Act.

Information: Maine Real Estate Commission Official Website

Maryland Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Illegal.

Information: Maryland Real Estate Commission Official Website

Massachusetts Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agency

When an agent or a real estate firm, practicing traditional agency as a business model, represents both principals (Buyer and Seller) in the same transaction, a dual agency exists. In Massachusetts Disclosed Dual Agency is legal, provided there exists full disclosure and written informed consent to the dual agency by both the Buyer and the Seller in a specific transaction. A Dual Agent has a duty of confidentiality and accounting to both parties. Reasonable Care and Skill will apply in the real estate transaction. Per Massachusetts RE49R05: Dual Agency

Information: Massachusetts ePLACE Portal Real Estate Official Website

Michigan Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Michigan Real Estate Department Official Website

Minnesota Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agency

Dual agency occurs when one broker or salesperson represents both parties to a transaction, or when two salespersons licensed to the same broker each represent a party to the transaction. Dual agency requires the informed consent of all parties, and means that the broker and salesperson owe the same duties to the Seller and the Buyer. Per Minnesota Statutes.

Information: Minnesota Real Estate License Department Official Website

Mississippi Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Disclosed Dual Agent

A disclosed dual agent is a licensee who, with the informed written consent of Seller and Buyer, is engaged as an agent for both Seller and buyer. Per The Mississippi Real Estate Commission Dual Agency Form.

Information: Mississippi Real Estate Commission Official Website

Missouri Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent (Limited)

A licensee may act as a dual agent only with the consent of all parties to the transaction. Consent shall be presumed by a written agreement pursuant to section 339.780. Per Missouri Laws 339.750.

Information: Missouri Real Estate Commission Official Website

Montana Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Montana Real Estate Commission Official Website

Nebraska Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent

A licensee may act as a dual agent only with the informed consent of all parties to the transaction. The informed consent shall be evidenced by a written agreement pursuant to section 76-2422. Per Nebraska Revised Statute 76-2419.

Further Information: Nebraska Real Estate Commission Official Website

Nevada Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Multiple Representation

Requires that the representation of more than one party in a real estate transaction may only be undertaken upon licensee’s full disclosure to each party that he/she is acting for more than one party in that transaction and with each party’s subsequent consent to the multiple representation in writing. The term “dual agency” is not used anywhere in NRS 645. Per Nevada Commission  Statement of Concerns.

Information: Nevada Real Estate Commission Official Website

New Hampshire Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Disclosed Dual Agent

A disclosed dual agent is a licensee acting for both the seller/landlord and the buyer/tenant in the same transaction with the knowledge and written consent of all parties. Per New Hampshire Consumer Information Guide.

Facilitator

A facilitator is an individual licensee who assists one or more parties during all or a portion of a real estate transaction without being an agent or advocate for the interests of any party to such transaction. Per New Hampshire Consumer Information Guide.

Information: New Hampshire Estate Commission Official Website

New Jersey Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Disclosed Dual Agent

A disclosed dual agent works for both the buyer and seller. To work as a dual agent, a firm must first obtain the informed written consent of the buyer and the seller. Per Consumer Information Statement on New Jersey Real Estate Relationships.

Transaction Broker

A transaction broker works with a buyer or a seller or both in the sales transaction without representing anyone. A transaction broker does not promote the interests of one party over those of the other party to the transaction. Per Consumer Information Statement on New Jersey Real Estate Relationships.

Information: New Jersey Estate Commission Official Website

New Mexico Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agency

Occurs when:

(1) an associate broker or qualifying broker is agent for both a seller client and a buyer client in the same transaction;

(2) an associate broker is agent for either a seller client or a buyer client, and the agent’s qualifying broker is agent for the other client in the transaction; and,

(3) in a transaction where a buyer client and a seller client are each served by different associate brokers in an agency relationship supervised by the same qualifying broker, and the qualifying broker does not choose the designated agency option, both the associate brokers and the qualifying broker are dual agents in the transaction.

Per New Mexico Broker Duties And Brokerage Relationships.

Information: New Mexico Estate Commission Official Website

New York Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent

A real estate broker may represent both the buyer and seller if both the buyer and seller give their informed consent in writing. In such a dual agency situation, the agent
will not be able to provide the full range of fiduciary duties to the buyer and seller. Per New York State Disclosure Form for Buyer and Seller.

Information: New York Division of License Services Official Website

North Carolina Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller. Per North Carolina Real Estate License Law and Real Estate Commission Rules.

Further Information: North Carolina Real Estate Commission Official Website

North Dakota Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agency

A situation in which a real estate brokerage firm or the real estate brokerage firm’s licensees owe a duty to more than one party in a real estate transaction. Dual agency is established only as follows:

a. When one licensee represents both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction; or

b. When two or more licensees, licensed to the same broker, each represents a party to the real estate transaction.

Per North Dakota Real Estate Code 43-23-06.1.

Information: North Dakota Real Estate Commission Official Website

Ohio License Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Ohio law permits a real estate agent and brokerage to represent both the seller and buyer in a real estate transaction as long as this is disclosed to both parties and they both agree. Per Ohio Agency Disclosure Statement.

Information: Ohio Department of Real Estate Official Website

Oklahoma Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Illegal.

Information: Oklahoma Real Estate Commission Official Website

Oregon Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Disclosed Limited Agency

“Disclosed limited agency” means a real property transaction in which the representation of a buyer and seller or the representation of two or more buyers occurs within the same real estate business. Per Oregon Revised Statutes.

Information: Oregon Real Estate Commission Official Website

Pennsylvania Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent

“Dual agent” A licensee who acts as an agent for the buyer and seller or lessee and landlord in the same transaction. Per Pennsylvania Real Estate Licensing And Registration Act.

Information: Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission Official Website

Rhode Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Rhode Island Real Estate Commission Official Website

South Carolina Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agency

“Dual agency” means a form of agency in which a real estate brokerage firm with two clients in the same transaction gives limited agency services. Per South Carolina Code of Laws.

Designated Agency

“Designated agency” means a form of agency in which two clients represented by a real estate brokerage firm in the same transaction may be given almost equivalent treatment as a single agency. Per South Carolina Code of Laws.

Information: South Carolina Real Estate Commission Official Website

South Dakota Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: South Dakota Real Estate Commission Official Website

Tennessee Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Dual Agent

Refers to a situation in which the licensee has agreements to provide services as an agent to more than one (1) party in a specific transaction and in which the interests of the parties are adverse. Per Tennessee Real Estate Code.

Information: Tennessee Department of Commerce and Real Estate Official Website

Texas Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Illegal. A license holder may not represent both principals as a dual agent under the revisions to TRELA. Per Texas Real Estate Commission.

Information: Texas Real Estate Commission Official Website

Utah Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Utah Division of Real Estate Official Website

Vermont Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Illegal.

Information: Vermont Real Estate Official Website

Virginia Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Virginia Real Estate Board Official Website

Washington Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller. Duties listed on Washington State Legislature.

Information: Washington Real Estate License Department Official Website

West Virginia Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller. Per West Virginia Real Estate License Act And Legislative Rules.

Information: West Virginia Real Estate Commission Official Website

Wisconsin Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Designated Agency

“Designated agency” means a multiple representation relationship in which each client of the firm in the multiple representation relationship receives negotiation services from the firm only from licensees associated with the firm who are not providing negotiation services to any other client of the firm in the transaction. Per Wisconsin Real Estate Practice Law.

Information: Wisconsin Department Professional Services and Real Estate Official Website

Wyoming Dual Agency Law

Legal or Illegal?

Legal with the written consent from both the buyer and the seller.

Information: Wyoming Real Estate Commission Official Website

Author:
Zackary Smigel is a real estate professional with a love for teaching, based out of Pittsburgh, PA. He's had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in real estate and has spent years learning how to become a successful agent.