Actually, there’s little dual about it. When you consider who the REALTOR really represents, the term’s inaccuracies quickly become clear; A dual agents fiduciary responsibility is to the seller.
To see how real estate representation really works, take a look at the three main type of agencies. (Actually, the Minnesota Association of REALTORS says there are five “options for relationship” between agent and home buyer.
Seller’s Agent The name alone tips you off that this is not the REALTOR you want when when buying a home.
Dual Agent A dual agent or agency attempts to represent both the seller and the buyer. Common sense suggests that having a single agent or agency represent opposing interests can cause trouble. In fact, the law of agency, licensing laws and the REALTOR code of ethics all specify that a dual agent’s fiduciary duties are to the seller.
Minnesota’s other types of REALTOR are more or less subcategories of dual agent: A “subagent” works with a buyer but, as far as the law is concerned, represents the seller. A “facilitator” works with both seller and buyer on a real estate transaction without assuming any fiduciary representation.
Almost all agents work this way. Unless the agency states it only represents home buyers, you should assume it is a dual agency.
Buyer’s Agent To be designated a buyer’s agent, a REALTOR may only represent home buyers. The surest way to tell an agency is buyer only is to make sure it never lists homes for sale.
This is the type of REALTOR you want when buying a home.
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