Clarity is a Rarity - Why Use an Exclusive Buyer's Agent?

Why Use an Exclusive Buyer's Agent?

By John F. Sullivan, ABR, CEBA-M
Vice Presiden and Associate Broker with Buyer's Edge

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In the District of Columbia and Virginia, a single real estate agent can represent the seller, the buyer or both the seller and buyer in the same transaction. In Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia two agents from the same agency can represent the buyer and seller in the same transaction with the broker performing the function of a dual agent.

At the Buyer’s Edge Co., Inc., we don’t think the same agent or different agents affiliated with the same agency can properly represent both buyer and seller in the same transaction. We are not alone in this view.

The National Association of Realtors®, in the Preamble to their Code of Ethics, states: "Realizing that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the best interests of those who utilize their services, Realtors® urge exclusive representation of clients...."

HUD'S Settlement Cost Booklet, “Shopping for Your Home Loan’ advises the home buyer in Section IV on page 6:

"It is your responsibility to search for an agent who will represent your interests in the real estate transaction. If you want someone to represent only your interests, consider hiring an “exclusive buyer’s agent”, who will be working for you. " (Emphasis theirs.)

The Oklahoma Supreme Court found that:

“Sellers agents and dual agents do not and cannot by law give a buyer the same degree of loyalty as an agent who acts on behalf of a buyer…A buyer who relies on the seller’s agents or on dual agency does not receive the same degree of legal protection as that afforded by an agent acting solely on behalf of the buyer.” (Kenneth Snider v State of Oklahoma Real Estate Commission No.88, 197, (Oklahoma State Supreme Court, June 1, 1999.)

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The National Association of Realtors® defines Exclusive Buyer Agency as “The practice of representing only buyers and never sellers in a transaction. The company never lists a seller’s property and thus never has a seller as a client. Agents never accept subagency that is offered by a seller’s agent.”