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Dual Agency; What Is It & How Does It Work in Real Estate?

Dual Agency; What Is It & How Does It Work in Real Estate?

Demystifying some real estate terminologies can feel like unravelling a complex puzzle. Take for instance the phrase “dual agency in real estate”. It’s a phrase teeming with intricacies that may appear overwhelming at first, but its better understanding is truly worth your while. This blog post will delve deep into the concept, particularly the role a dual real estate agent plays in the complex matrix of property or real estate transactions.

What Is Dual Agency in Real Estate?

In the realm of real estate, a dual agency is a situation where a single agent—referred to as a dual real estate agent—represents both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. While an agent traditionally represents one party—either the buyer or the seller—in a dual agency setup, the dual real estate agent assumes the role of an intermediary for both parties. The agent has comprehensive knowledge of the transaction from both ends, which often leads to an innately streamlined negotiation process.

Who Pays the Commission in a Dual Agency?

Who Pays the Commission in a Dual Agency?

Under normal circumstances, a seller pays a commission—which is subsequently split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents—at the conclusion of a real estate transaction. Nevertheless, in a dual agency situation, the dual real estate agent might end up receiving the total commission since they are serving both parties. The commission’s exact percentage is typically decided during the listing agreement’s signing process.

Is Dual Agency Good for the Seller and Buyer?

Is Dual Agency Good for the Seller and Buyer?

Evaluating whether a dual agency is beneficial depends upon a series of factors and the unique situations of both the seller and buyer.


For a seller, working with a dual real estate agent might expedite the sale process due to quicker, more efficient communication and negotiation with the buyer. Also, since the agent serves both parties concurrently, there might be opportunities for a reduction in commission fees, potentially saving costs.

For a buyer, a dual real estate agent might offer a deeper well of knowledge about the property. Given the agent’s direct relationship with the seller and the familiarity with the property, they often have access to insights that can be leveraged in favour of the buyer.


Yet, dual agency scenarios are not devoid of potential downsides. The central role of an agent is to advocate for their client’s best interests. However, in the context of dual agency, this can transform into a challenging situation. The preferences and requirements of a buyer often conflict with those of a seller, and pleasing both simultaneously can be a tall order.

Moreover, the lack of a second, independent agent means there is no external audit or check on the dual agent’s practices. The agent negotiates with themselves—a factor that might not always yield the best consequence for both buyer and seller.

Is Dual Agency Illegal in Some States of the USA?

Is Dual Agency Illegal in Some States of the USA?

Navigating real estate transactions requires a comprehension of legality and regulation. A burning query needs to be addressed: “Is dual agency illegal in some states of the USA?” The answer is ‘Yes’. Dual agency is prohibited in several U.S. states because they view it as a potential conflict-of-interest minefield. Territories like Florida, Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming have outlawed dual agency, deeming disadvantages to either buyer or seller too high of a risk to permit this practice.

These states see dual agency, with its potential for conflict, as a Pandora’s Box that could lead to undesirable outcomes for involved parties. However, some states allow dual agency under specific regulations, often requiring disclosure and informed consent. Therefore, before considering a dual agency, familiarize yourself with your state’s specific rules for a legally compliant, secure transaction. A thorough understanding of these legal nuances can guide stakeholders through the labyrinth of real estate transactions, equipping them to make informed decisions.

Is Dual Agency Illegal in Canada?

This query is met with an intricate response, illustrating the multifaceted nature of dual agency. While in British Columbia dual agency has largely been banished from real estate practices since 2018, the situation throughout the entirety of Canada is not as homogenous.

British Columbia decided to forbid dual agency, a decision driven by the potential for conflicts of interest and the subsequent impacts on fairness and equity within property transactions. However, they recognize that it may be unavoidable or reasonable under infrequent circumstances and make allowances for these exceptions.

The rest of Canada has a mixed stance on dual agency, that varies from province to province. Some regions still permit dual agency, while others have introduced rules to impose conditions or restrictions on its operation, influenced by factors relevant to their specific markets.

Hence, while dual agency is largely frowned upon, it is not uniformly illegal throughout all of Canada. Buyers and sellers must be knowledgeable about their provincial regulations to ensure they comply with the law during real estate transactions.


The concept of a dual agency in real estate, while not new, has come under the lens in recent years as buyers and sellers alike attempt to navigate transactions as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible. Both a gift and a potential curse, dual agency offers the convenience of streamlined communication and potentially reduced costs. At the same time, its inherent conflicts can pave the way for some challenges.

For both sellers and buyers, developing an understanding of the dual agency’s implications is critical before choosing such an arrangement. It’s advised to research thoroughly and even seek legal counsel if needed, to facilitate optimal decision-making in the intricate landscape of real estate transactions.

Navigating the world of real estate transactions, much like playing a strategic game, implies achieving a fine balance of interests, expertise, and understanding of the system. Dual agency constitutes one of the game’s many twists, which, when managed with prudence and insight, can potentially carve the path to a profitable transaction—mismanagement, on the other hand, might tip the scale unfavourably. So tread thoughtfully and make informed choices amassing a wealth of knowledge in your real estate transactions.

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