Who’s My Agent? Can I Get An Agent, Please? An Explanation of Agency in VA.

There's a frequent topic in the real estate world, and it involves
who represents who in the transaction.  There are some real positives
to understanding who your agent is working for; sometimes you might be
surprised at the answer.  Here's a breakdown of Agency in VA, particularly if you're looking for an agent in the Blacksburg/Christiansburg/Radford area:

Seller's Agent
– The Seller's agent works for, and is representing, the seller only. 
Most of the time this is the listing agent, but there are times (called subagency), when when it's not just the listing agent.  More on this next.

Subagent – with subagency, the agent may be working with a buyer, but they still represent the seller.  When an agreement is not in writing between buyer and agent, subagency exists.

Buyer's Agent – buyer has agreed, in writing, for an agent to represent them in the transaction.  Buyer's agent has a responsibility to protect the client's interests, and is prevented from sharing confidential information with the other parties to the transaction.

Dual Agent – one agent, two parties (a buyer and a seller).  This is not a good position to be in, not only if you are the buyer or the seller, but also the agent.  As an agent, your role as an adviser and negotiator is eliminated, and you can provide little more than the facilitation of paperwork back and forth between both parties, and the scheduling of inspections, etc.

These are the main roles an agent can play in a real estate transaction in VA.  Although all are legal within the Commonwealth, I will not practice dual agency.  It's just my personal opinion that if a seller hires me to represent them in the sale of their home, then I can't adequately represent the buyer in that same sale.  Likewise, if I'm working with buyer to find them a home, I can't provide them the advice they need to negotiate and purchase one of my listings.  I don't like to do that – I want to give you my 100% full representation, and I'll foregoe a little extra money to do that. 

It's interesting – I was with an attorney recently and I listened as he took a call and explained that he couldn't advise the caller in that matter because he was advising one of the two sides of an upcoming case.  If an attorney can't do that, I don't think it should be right for me to do that, either.

What do you think?

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