The risks of a dual agency relationship


North Carolina residents will want to carefully consider whether a dual agency relationship is the right choice for them. It is legal in this state and may be the simplest option for some, but it does carry some risks.


In the phrase “dual agency relationship”, the word “agency” refers to the relationship a real estate agent has with the buyer or seller. It refers to how much freedom the agent has within that relationship.

A dual agency relationship is a scenario where the buyer and seller have the same real estate agent or separate agents working under the same broker.

In this scenario, the agent works on behalf of both parties. They will do things like submit an offer to the seller on behalf of the buyer.

This practice will require signing a few disclosures that indicate you understand that the agent is working on behalf of both parties. However, it comes with some distinct disadvantages.


When both parties have their own real estate agent, their agents are working on their behalf. For example, if you were a buyer, your agent may give you insight into what other properties have sold for in the area. They may tell you that their gut instinct says you can offer less for a property.

However, if the agent is also representing the seller, that would be a betrayal to the seller. Because of this, they cannot advise you on this matter. They cannot advise the seller whether to accept an offer or not. They cannot advise a buyer on what to offer. There is less support for either party in this scenario.

When you work with your own agent, their responsibility is only to serve your best interests. They will discuss what you want and do their best to ensure you get it.

When the agent is responsible to both the seller and the buyer, they must stay neutral. They cannot disclose anything that would violate the other party’s privacy. They also can’t say anything that may not be in the other party’s best interest.

Ultimately, many people feel that working with a dual agency relationship is simpler in their situation. Make sure you are fully aware of how it works and read the disclosures you’re signing before making this decision.