In my four years as a broker with Long & Foster in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, only once did I complete a transaction while simultaneously representing the buyer and the seller of my listing.
The practice is known as dual agency; that is, the broker is the agent of both buyer and seller. It is a little bit like having a single lawyer representing both complainant and respondent in the same trial. And that would never happen.
In the D.C. area, dual agency is strongly discouraged and, in Maryland, as I recall, outlawed. Why? The impossibility is argued of one person being able to represent the best interests of parties on the opposite sides of a one transaction.
Conflicts of interest are virtually unavoidable. Continue reading