I just received a wonderful compliment from a client, one that also underscored a benefit of Dual Agency when handled professionally. Here’s the story…
I listed John & Becky Arnold’s* home in north east Raleigh and we enjoyed steady showing traffic. On the evening of day 36 we received an offer $10,000 below list price. I talked to this agent and determined we could probably negotiate that offer up to an acceptable price. However, we had told one of our new buyer clients about the home, and had made an appointment to show him the home at 9:00 AM the next morning.
In Dual Agency, our fidiciary duty is to consider the interests of each client separately, then advise each client as if the other side were represented by a different agent. As the agent for (1) the buyer, we worked to give him the opportunity to see (and perhaps purchase) a home that might be perfect for him. As the agent for (2) the sellers, we worked to maximize the potential of a multiple-offer situation which would hopefully net them a better price. We asked the sellers if they would be okay with waiting until the next day to counter the first offer. They agreed and we notified the buyers’ agent from the first offer.
Our buyer loved the home. We had already told him there was another offer on the table. We reviewed all the relevant data to help him understand the true market value of the home, and advised him to make an offer that wasn’t so high he’d regret it if he “won”, but not so low he’d regret it if he “lost”. Based on all the data and the other homes he had considered, he offered $100 over list price to show the sellers he really wanted the home. We contacted the other agent and informed him we were in a “multiple offer situation” and asked him to bring his clients “highest and best” offer within four hours.
The first agent responded quickly on behalf of his buyers … with the exact same offer price! I’ve never seen that before.
My job as the sellers’ listing agent was to advise them to the best of my ability about which offer would best help them reach their goals, which is normally some combination of purchase price, closing date, and probability of closing … without regard to which offer is from “my buyer” v. “a buyer represented by another agent”.
These two offers were nearly identical in all respects. Both buyers had excellent financing, were willing to close quickly, and had offered sufficient due diligence and earnest money deposits. The agent representing the other buyers was an experienced, truly trustworthy professional. This was a very tough choice for my sellers, between two great buyers.
Then they blew me away by saying: We’re going to accept the offer from your buyer because you are his agent. That means there will be one less person involved who might cause a miscommunication or conflict. We want you to handle everything because we trust you.
Wow. THANK YOU John & Becky, I’ll never forget what you said. It is one of the highlights of my real estate career, and will work very hard to make sure I am worthy of your compliment.
* Name and photo changed to protect client privacy on internet. In most cases, our clients will be happy to share additional details in private conversation.