In New Mexico the question of Dual Agency begins with the definition of Agency and its ramifications and responsibilities. There is a BIG difference with Agency and Transaction Broker. I don't like Agency whether single or Dual. I work as a Transantion Broker with all of the proper disclosures provided by our State Association. Many buyers come directly to the Listing Agent for any number of reasons. Ultimately it is about professionalism, fairness, and Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure!! After all we are not, unlike attornies, intended to imbarke on adversarial and litigious deeds. First and Foremost we are Servants striving to meet wants and needs of the parties and bringing trasactions to a successful conclusion. That is how we earn our daily bread and our respect!!
When you list homes and work with buyers the opportunity on occasion will present itself, both sides of the transaction. Such is the case for me, I have a home listed and received a sign call that developed into an interested buyer. What a fantastic opportunity but one that needed to be treated with caution.
In the state of Texas we have the ability to work on both sides of the transaction through what is defined as Intermediary Relationship. There are many responsibilities of this relationship but one clear defining line; you must act as a mediator for both parties, no advice regarding negotiation decisions. You also cannot share any confidences and you must respect the price the seller has the home listed with no suggestion of the value being less. All parties must agree to this relationship and advised of their other representation choices (buyer & seller agents).
This is a very difficult balance responsibility when you are on both sides of the transaction. As an agent you have a responsibility to self reflect as to your comfort, knowledge level, ability to strictly adhere to the responsibility of this type of agency. Also this is probably one of the top reasons lawsuits develop over this form of agency and the perception of how the agent professionally handled the transaction.
Initially when the opportunity knocks you feel a moment of celebration, commission counting in your head, etc. Step back and reflect ... are you informed and experienced enough to properly handle this type of transaction? If there is any moment of a deep breath and hesitation then you best refer one of the parties to be independently represented by another agent. Make sure both the other agent and the party interview each other for comfort and acceptance. Sometimes that separation of relationships is absolutely the right thing to do. Also you need to keep your broker in the loop for counseling, appointment of other agents, etc.
Understand what your state law allows, what your agency stance for what agency types are permitted and become very well informed and comfortable with your professional responsibilities. This is a very sensitive and debated topic in our state for a good reason ... watching out for the best for our consumers.
What side of the fence do you feel is best or are you in the middle?