There’s always something to howl about

I like dual agency so much that I’m writing a commercial for it — and you can help!

Okay, I don’t like dual agency. The more I’ve thought about it, over the years, the more I see that it cannot possibly done in a manner that it is actually fair to both parties. And that ignores the perceptions of the principals.

The one little bit of glue holding the Rube Goldberg machine of dual agency together is the fact that very few consumers even know what it is. Many times, I have had to explain dual agency to people who were either going through it or had in the past. Not surprisingly, none of them had been fully-informed by their agent about the risks of dual representation — although many of them suddenly understood what had smelled fishy to them.

My argument would be that no fully-informed consumer would embrace dual agency, but there are exceptions: People who want to take unfair advantage of the other party. There is a name for the role you would play in that scenario, as the Realtor: Shill.

Not only is dual agency exceptionally good for cheating one of your clients — normally the buyer — it’s also excellent for leaving the impression in the minds of both buyers and sellers that you yourself are a cheater, a liar and a person of egregiously low character. That’s some first-rate marketing, Jasper!

Here’s my take: As a very easy baby-step on the road to raising your own standards for the benefit of your clients, swearing off dual agency can’t be beaten. There’s a lot more you can and should do, and BloodhoundBlog is full of ideas for raising your standards. But there is nothing else you can do that will communicate to your clients your commitment to putting their interests first as compelling as renouncing dual agency. And no matter what else you might do, if you do not renounce it, you’re still going to look like a snake to anyone who actually understands dual agency.

So as a step toward informing consumers about what is really going on in a dual agency transaction, I thought I would make a commercial about it. The spot would feature a bunch of Realtors extolling the benefits of dual agency — to them. At the punch line, the video would link to a landing page explaining dual agency in detail.

[Two or three of our contributors are in the web site business. If one of y’all wants to build this landing page/landing site, I have ideas. For example, it could feature a “pledge” page for Realtors. Agents would pledge never again to do dual agency, and the site could reward them by linking back to their own sites. You could offer a badge for those who pledge, also, earning a link back. A site like this could hit PR5 in no time.]

Anyway, here is the beginning of a script for this commercial. I’m posting it here to induce you to add to it.

  • I like dual agency because… buyers don’t have to go to the trouble of finding their own agent.
  • I like dual agency because… communication between sellers and buyers is so efficient.
  • I like dual agency because… busy home-buyers don’t have to waste time looking at other houses.
  • I like dual agency because… it just cuts down on the confusion.
  • I like dual agency because… I get paid double!

And like that. The premise is simple: You’re a Realtor selling dual agency on the basis of its advantages to you, not to the consumer. If you want examples to draw upon, the comments threads to every post on dual agency are ripe with puerile rationalizations for facile self-dealing.

There’s an even more fun step after this, but you don’t get to play at that level unless you suggest ideas for the commercial script. So get writing.


17 Comments so far

  1. Lee B February 22nd, 2010 11:52 am

    I like dual agency because… I love litigation. Ok, maybe that one wouldn’t work for this. =)

  2. Greg Swann February 22nd, 2010 11:59 am

    > Ok, maybe that one wouldn’t work for this.

    It’s funny, though. How about this?

    I like dual agency because… my buyers and sellers may get a chance to see how our court system really works.

  3. Ryan Hartman February 22nd, 2010 2:08 pm

    Quick page with a tubepress gallery? A few other links… no problem.

    “I like dual agency because splitting the difference is bomb diggity and I’m a shitty awesome negotiator.” – (the truth, I admit it.)

  4. Jim Duncan February 22nd, 2010 2:39 pm

    I like dual agency because I like feeling shifty and dirty.

  5. Teri Lussier February 22nd, 2010 3:01 pm

    I like dual agency because my broker told me to.

  6. Al Lorenz February 22nd, 2010 3:32 pm

    Pocket listings go with dual agency like hot dogs go with choking! So:

    I like dual agency because I don’t have to bother marketing and promoting my pocket listings on the MLS. Pocket listings! Love those! No marketing hassles, fewer calls, more money for me as a dual agent. What’s not to like?

  7. George B. February 22nd, 2010 3:41 pm

    As the instructor in my (pre-licensing) Principles and Practices class put it, “I like dual agency because…negotiations go so much smoother.”

  8. JIm Whatley February 22nd, 2010 6:13 pm

    Mr T. “I pity the fool who would use dual agency.”

  9. Doug Quance February 22nd, 2010 6:18 pm

    I like dual agency because I don’t have to deal with a crappy realtor on the other end of the deal.


    (For those of you who don’t know me… I have never done a dual agency transaction. I have done them with an unrepresented Buyer… who knew he wasn’t being represented.)

  10. Don Reedy February 22nd, 2010 7:46 pm

    I love dual agency because it means I don’t have to actually explain what “fiduciary” means. After all, I’m taking care of both sides, so they can see their best interests are fully protected…..right?

  11. Scott Cowan February 22nd, 2010 11:35 pm

    “Friends don’t let friends do dual agency”

    “This is your transaction This is your transaction on dual agency”

  12. Steve Trang February 23rd, 2010 12:07 am

    I like dual agency because I’m still trying to get my first complaint from the department of real estate.

  13. Chris Johnson February 23rd, 2010 1:39 pm

    I like dual agency because it allows me to redefine integrity.

  14. Sean Purcell February 23rd, 2010 5:36 pm

    “I like dual agency because it sounds like I’m doing double the work.”

    “I like dual agency because I don’t have to deal with another unprofessional agent.”

    “I like dual agency because it moves me toward Presidential Circle status twice as fast… and that’s the point of the game, right?”

    “I like dual agency because a transaction gone wrong is, by definition, the clients’ fault.”

    “I like dual agency for the same reason I like cheating on my wife: twice the fun and none of the responsibility.”

    “I like dual agency because the NAR says I can.”

  15. Greg Swann February 23rd, 2010 5:53 pm

    Sean Purcell, you’re a stud. All the lines have been great, but yours are non pariel.

  16. Cathleen Collins February 23rd, 2010 7:25 pm

    I like dual agency because I can control the messages to both the Buyer and the Seller. So the transaction has a better chance of hanging together. Just think how many successful transactions there would be if I was the lender, and maybe even the home inspector, too! Then there would never be disappointed clients. Everyone would think he got what he wanted.

  17. Lisa Bosques February 23rd, 2010 11:17 pm

    “I like dual agency because everything is so much more streamlined when there’s only one Reel-a-tor involved – one broker, one set of docs, and one big fat check…to ME!”