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It's agency day

Posted by Rona Fischman October 7, 2010 02:27 PM

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REMaven went after me about dual agency. She quoted me:

Rona wrote: “I step lightly on issues of dual and designated agency because I practice exclusive buyer agency and don’t want to oversell my model?” [Question mark by REMaven]
Then continued:
Excuse me, but why would you not step hard on the practice of dual agency, when it affects the bottom line of both the buyer and seller? It has nothing to do with which type of sales model you utilize. It has everything to do with educating the public and calling out industry and any agent who practices this.

If you feel that you have to step lightly on issues of dual and designated agency as you may be blackballed by other agents and your offers might not be accepted, then I suggest that another blogger tackle this issue.

For those who are tired of me bringing this topic up or think that it isn’t important, the next time you go to court, please allow the Lawyer representing your opponent to represent you and your best interests. Maybe you’ll roar with laughter when it isn’t allowed or if it were (in a kangaroo court) with the results

I respond, in detail:
REMaven, you mistake tact and fairness for lack of commitment. It is easy for you to say anything you’d like, under your cloak of pen-name. I, however, use my real name. If I constantly wrote on agency -- which is a big part of my company's marketing -- I would be shouted down, rightfully, for self-interest. I will not accept that I am acting in my self-interest if I write about it and if I don’t write about it.

You are dead wrong to claim that I don’t take on these issues -- I do, just not every day. I follow this topic in a way that educates the readers about agency issues. I have a track record. You just weren’t reading:
I wrote about the Agency Disclosure. I included designated and dual agency on my list of what’s wrong with real estate in my recap of 2008. I explained what to look out for in dual agency. I also mentioned the poor rate of compliance to the regulations. I gave an example of where agents claimed they were buyer agents in a questionable situation, and why consumers need to beware. I explained the nuts and bolts of maintaining a fiduciary model as recently as last July.

Sam also posted on what consumers need to understand about dual and designated agency. Not once, but twice.

I have no fear of blackballing. If I was ever in fear of being blackballed, it was in the early 1990s. Back then, agents thought that buyer agency was more-or-less Satanic. I wasn’t intimidated then. Since 2005, it is a non-issue.

Why? Since 2005 almost all agents call themselves a buyer’s agent. Agents who used to swear at me now treat me like Norm on Cheers. They say, “You were the first buyer agent I ever met; now I do it, too. I don’t know what I was afraid of…”

Since 2005, one agent in a company can legally be a buyer’s agent while another agent in the same office represents the seller of the same house. It’s called “designated agency.” Before this law change, a company could provide fiduciary services to the buyer or the seller, not both parties. Most consumers don’t know the difference between a buyer’s agent in a firm that practices dual agency through designated buyer’s and seller’s agents and a buyer’s agent from an exclusive or single-party firm, which would represent the seller or the buyer of a property, and never both. Do you know the difference and do you care?

Today, I give REMaven’s topic some air. I would be happy to answer questions about dual and designated agency for anyone who reads this disclosure first.

Have you worked with an agent who “forgot” to give you the disclosure at your first meeting?

Did you have a bad experience with a designated buyer’s or designated seller’s agent? Or a good one?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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