In the State of New York, if I as the listing agent bring my own buyer to the closing table, does that automatically make me a dual agent?
If you answered "yes" you'd be wrong. If a New York real estate agent sells their own listing to their own buyer they are NOT automatically a dual agent. As a matter of fact they probably shouldn't be.
Dual agency is one of the most misunderstood and controversial topics in the real estate industry. Part of the problem is that even professionals can't agree because the rules vary greatly across state lines. Earlier today, on a discussion board on improving industry standards and practices, a licensee from another state wrote that if a buyer who had no agent called to buy one of her listings that she would refer them to another agent. In her state, she would be doing the right thing.
I would assert that in Westchester County where I work, if a buyer were hot for one of my listings and I did anything short of scheduling a showing with the intention of producing an offer for my seller, that I would be acting contrary to what my seller client hired me to do. My seller want me to get that buyer to commit. As a matter of fact my seller client should want me to bring my own buyer. And not because of the urban myth that there will be a commission savings.
The reason my seller should want me to sell their listing myself is, pure and simply, advocacy. The seller hired me to sell the house when they list. They are the client. I am their advocate by statute. If we get a call on a sign or Internet entry on a listing, that guy is a customer. He didn't hire me. I am not his advocate. He just wants to see the house and doesn't have an agent. I owe him fairness and honesty. But I don't work for him. When a buyer deals directly with me as the listing agent, he has no advocate.
What are the advantages to the seller?
- There is no buyer agent. The buyer has no counterpart to me working for him.
- There is no buyer agent. I don't have to call that agent for an update and wait for them to call the buyer and then call me back. I just call the buyer.
- There is no buyer agent. There is no one with MLS or broker access to the comparable market activity to educate the buyer.
- There is no buyer agent. The buyer is negotiating the largest transaction of his life with me (and my 500 transaction background) with no professional help.