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Can double-ending really be fair?

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Real Estate Professional | 22 Oct 2014, 11:51 AM Agree 0
Agents are increasingly comfortable with the practice of double-ending, but that’s placing greater emphasis on the protocols they have in place to protect both their clients and their reputations when multiple-bidding situations are thrown into the mix.
  • judy | 22 Oct 2014, 03:11 PM Agree 0
    It is a fine line to walk, but most sellers really don't care who brings the offer that sells their house. they just want the job done, and if they like their agent, sometimes they are thrilled that they are paying you the whole commission. In our area there are a number of buyers who will shop only with the listing agent with an expectation of getting some of the selling commission back to themselves. This trend is on the rise over the last few years. A number of them feel that they are dealing with the agent who knows the property best.
    I always disclose to all parties how many offers are competing and if one is my own. No details of any offer are shared with the competitors out of fairness to all parties. I always offer the buyer the option of having someone else write the offer and/or my manager to present to the vendors. It is standard form to write a clause that they have a lawyer look over the contract which they may or may not pursue. Over 28 years, I have only had one buyer do this, generally, it is waived.
  • | 22 Oct 2014, 03:21 PM Agree 0
  • Patricia | 22 Oct 2014, 03:22 PM Agree 0
    Buyer wants lowest price; seller wants highest and both may want competing terms on issues like oil tanks, etc.
    It is only in the very rare situation that I think it is ethical to act for both...presumably the seller is paying you to negotiate and if you have any skill in that regard a buyer would expect the if a seller hires a skilled agent then that agent should be pushing the price up or for the buyer pushing it down. It is not possible to do both at the same time so neither client is getting good service....but of course the realtor in the middle is usually making more. It also seems to encourage agents to act badly in how they treat other agents-if double ending was not possible this would be lessened. AS agents with a fiduciary duty to clients, I think double ending is rarely we rarely do it....the situation has to be such that either it is unavoidable or the seller has a price and there is no negotiation possible on that term. Even then we put in place protections for both and explain to both.
  • ken C | 22 Oct 2014, 04:02 PM Agree 0
    I applaud Patricia for her ethical position in this situation! I thought that I was the only Realtor who considered it unfair to represent ( yes, represent!) both the Buyer and Seller in the same transaction! The non-sense about "treating one party as a customer" in order to avoid " conflict of interests" is utter rubbish and should be prohibited!!
    How many Realtors in the "relished" position of double-ending do indeed refer both the Seller and Buyer clients to their lawyers, first, to review and, if necessary, revise the terms/conditions of the proposed offer, BEFORE it is actually presented to the other party?? I don't know of any Realtor who does so!
    Moreover, as Patricia points out, the Seller hired the Realtor to sell his/her property for the HIGHEST price, with the LEAST possible hindrances(ie conditions): on the other hand, the Buyer hired the Realtor to obtain the property for the LOWEST possible price, with the MOST protection (ie conditions) to ensure the property is sound and worth the price paid! How can one person satisfy those opposing obligations COMPLETELY!! Impossible!! So, I refuse to double- end and always avoid any discussions with the second party about finances, price or personal situation and always refer that party to another Realtor for a referral fee!
    I would like to see our industry ban double-ending just as the legal profession does not allow a lawyer to represent both adversaries/parties in the same matter!
  • Alan | 22 Oct 2014, 04:12 PM Agree 0
    I am a seasoned realtor of 34 years. I never understood from day one, how any realtor could handle both ends of a transaction and have an ethical conscience. To me this is akin to a court room lawyer prosecuting and defending a client. I have been repeatedly told over the years by my peers to "loosen up and get a life." At some point I believe this practice will come back to haunt the industry. The comments that have been posted ahead of mine both have some very valid points and I have heard all these arguments over the years. Realtors that work in teams have the distinct advantage of representing their clients ethically, one realtor handles sales, the other listings. In smaller markets that can be problematic but in the large city markets, it makes good sense. At best, this practice is a slippery slope and has the ability to produce some very nasty press. And goodness knows, our industry does not need to encourage bad press.
  • danny | 22 Oct 2014, 04:16 PM Agree 0
    Excuse me but does not the listing contract state the agent" Brokerage " has the responsibility to sell the property. After all that is why people hire us. Selling since 1987 and have not had a problem after 100's of deals!! Do your job honest .. all will be well
  • Alan | 22 Oct 2014, 04:16 PM Agree 0
    You have stated the obvious. You get my support.
  • Rod Doris is my real name | 22 Oct 2014, 04:25 PM Agree 0
    I totally agree with you Judy! Discount brokerage; it is what it is! Another batch will crop up in a few weeks, months and years! They make us all look good. I'm seasoned, don't mind double-ending; then I'm truly paid what I'm worth, it's a win-win for both parties. Hatters will continue to hate! Their choice...
  • Walter | 22 Oct 2014, 05:12 PM Agree 0
    Just as a note, I am a Realtor in the State of Florida and we act as Transaction Brokers rather then Single Agents, our responsibility is to the Transaction. Our Sellers and Buyers know that we can represent both at the same time and as ethical Realtors we treat both sides equally and this is done on a daily basis. Why would you as a Realtor not want to collect both sides? Did you not work hard to get the listing? Do you want to sell your Buyers someone else's house rather then the one they called you on, which happens to be your listing. As it was said earlier, treat everyone fairly and it will be a WIN/WIN for all parties.
    As it pertains to Multiple offers and the Listing agent having a buyer in the mix, Ethical Realtors do not have a problem with this as it is a non issue if you treat your buyers the same way you would another Realtors buyers. Those who try and manipulate the sale in favor of their buyers will soon find out that when you look at the sales records, other Realtors can see how many times that Realtor double ended multiple offer deals. They soon find out that many of the Realtors that they circumvented will avoid many of their future listings just for that reason.
  • Scott Simmons | 22 Oct 2014, 05:18 PM Agree 0
    Double ending is not all the same kettle of fish. One can be the listing agent and sell to buyers and not represent the buyers. Which should be the only way to do a deal like this. If the buyers are experienced and decline other representation then go for it write the deal but offer the buyers no agency. To offer both parties "Limited Dual Agency" is just wrong. Each buyer and or seller needs representation and to think one can work for both is kidding yourself. What you are offering in Limited dual agency is not full service it's limited service and what you should get paid twice as much! Designated agency has cut out the Limited dual agency situations when it was not really dual agency. I'm always shocked at how many agents don't offering no agency. It should be the first thing you offer but so many go strait for limited dual agency. Poor training or reading on the subject.

    What has this got to do with discount brokerages Rod? Nothing.

    Cheers Scott Simmons Salt Spring Island BC
  • Agent RT | 22 Oct 2014, 05:40 PM Agree 0
    Who cares if they survive?
  • windsor traveller | 22 Oct 2014, 06:28 PM Agree 0

    double ending should be banned on sales, allowed on leases is my thought.
  • Norm Carr | 22 Oct 2014, 06:54 PM Agree 0
    I have been listing and selling homes in Ontario for over 45 years. In about 25% of those tranactions I have " double ended" as it is known as. The seller has hired me to find him a buyer at a fair price and is willing to pay me well for that service. Very few sellers try to cut my usual 5% commission. The buyers today really don't care who sells the home to them as long as the home and price are what they want. The seller pays my fee. Most buyers realize the realtor fee is built into the price. How many offers are there written these days that coincidentally end up bargaining over the last 5%. Plenty are fine tuned with this price spread. When I first started selling homes the MLS rules allowed me to call the seller of any listing and present my own offer without the listing agent even knowing there was even an offer. In those days we worked exclusively for the seller and the buyers received fair service. This business was much more simple then. Listings were written on a half page of paper. Offers were hand written on one NCR page, and signed at the bottom. I have never been sued by any buyer or seller throughout my career of thousands of transactions. I CAN keep up to all the nonsense we need to go through today to sell a property, but I don't see all the reasoning behind all the ever increasing RECO rules and regulations.
  • | 22 Oct 2014, 07:29 PM Agree 0
    I hope this happens, I know a few dirty agents who take listings for $399, list the home very low and get their own offers to submit the winning bid.
  • lK | 23 Oct 2014, 08:01 AM Agree 0
    Ken, is it possible the seller wants to sell and the buyer wants to buy? Who told you that you were supposed to get the lowest price for the buyer? Too often a realtor wants to show how good they are instead of getting out of the way to allow a buyer to purchase. How would a buyer ever buy in a Toronto market as it apparently exists now if their agent doesn't recognize that, in many cases, the agents job is to secure the deal. Not prove how smart they are or what grasp of historical sales the have.
  • Paul | 23 Oct 2014, 09:20 AM Agree 0
    Ira is confused, when another agent or manager from his offer is used. He is still in multiple representation as it is the Brokerage that represents Buyer and Seller. We need to make sure that we properly disclose to both parties as to who we are representing and make sure all are aware of what we can and can not disclose based on our represtation.

  • Larry E | 23 Oct 2014, 10:48 AM Agree 0
    promotes greed among dollar driven agents - have a deal with an associate to act with you in a reciprocal program for a year at a time
  • Ken Lamb | 24 Oct 2014, 04:33 PM Agree 0
    Can you imagine standing before a judge in a litigation over a "double ender" and stating "I was acting - sort of for both the buyer and seller"! I think like Harvey Kallas that double ending should not be a part of organized real estate as it is impossible to effectively represent both parties to a transaction. Hopefully, this practise will be weeded out as it is in many States in the U.S. The only reason for it now in my opinion is simple greed with no consideration for the poor seller you promised to do your best for and they absolutely know you have thrown them under the bus for your own personal greed. Lets put our buyers and sellers needs first and truly do what is best for them and meet or even exceed your fiduciary duties.
  • Mary | 24 Oct 2014, 05:24 PM Agree 0
    If you are an ethical, by the book realtor there is no issue. If you are a realtor with no ethics, then this is only one of many problems your buyers and sellers can expect. There's no greed involved if you just do your job, please the seller and the buyer, do it right, by the book and you get paid. If you are selling a property only for the commission, then there is only one person you are working for and that is yourself. Just like in everyday life, rules are made because of the bad ones and there are plenty in this industry (not unlike other industries). And, if you think the "unethical realtor" can't look themselves in the mirror...think again. They know what they are doing, keep on doing it, and beat the hell out of the rest of us.
  • Rod Doris is my real name | 24 Oct 2014, 07:09 PM Agree 0
    Scott, I'm comfortable with dealing with both parties in the double-ender transaction! I have been in the business over 25 years and embraced Agency when it came to the forefront in the 1995 in Ontario; I never shied away from it, as I don't feel it is wrong to sell your own listing. Provide both parties agree to multiple representation I'm all for it! You obliviously feel different about it than I do, and I respect you for feeling that way. Just don't tell me I have to accept your point of view because you think it's the best! For you maybe; for me, it's not!
  • Scott Simmons | 25 Oct 2014, 06:46 AM Agree 1
    Hi Rod Doris I'm comfortable dealing with both parties in a double end transition. As a matter of fact last night I did a double end deal on one of my listings. However I just represented my seller. I offered the buyer no agency. The buyer called me that day about the listing and wanted to put in an offer. How could I offer her representation? I meet her at the listing (it's a small commercial store building 563 sq ft) and wrote up the offer. I encouraged her to get her own Realtor that afternoon and even recommended a few agents that could help her. She said she was fine with no agency representation. She knew the price she was going to offer. We meet up I did a fintrac, wwr, disclosure or Rem, then went through the offer with her had her sign it. All in it was very simple. I offered her no agency. It was not limited dual agency. Why would I want to be her agent? I have a client my seller. My point is so many agents do not automatically go to no agency they seem to think limited dual agency right away. I know if this deal goes sideways and we end up in front of a judge or the real estate council I will go over all the offers I made to her to get her own agent. She is not my client. If she paid to much it's not my fault I'm working for the seller and my goal is to try and sell at the highest possible price. FYI the offer was accepted. I hope this explains my position on Limited dual agency it should be the last resort not the first and only option. No agency is clean and simple. Cheers Scott Simmons on Sunny Salt Spring Island.
  • SDW | 26 Oct 2014, 04:15 PM Agree 0
    Who wouldn't double-end if they could --- as long as both the Seller and Buyer are aware and comfortable in the situation.
    In the legal sense the Listing Agent represents the Seller and is required to treat the Buyer fairly, answer questions honestly etc. and explain that to the Buyer unless the Agent has a signed Buyer Representation Agreement with said Buyer ( IMO--- the dumbest thing a Buyer should sign with an Agent because it is a one way contract in favor of the Agent ). In that case both the Buyer and Seller are aware of the Dual Agency representation which would have been explained by the Agent and their ( Buyer and Seller ) respective legal advisers.

  • EC | 26 Oct 2014, 08:14 PM Agree 0
    This debate should revolve around the assumption that both seller and buyer actually want or expect some sort of representation: this is where the ethical drum-bangers have an absolutely impregnable point. Savvy buyers that are comfortable with no representation, and sign multiple disclosures (though none will TRULY protect a double-ending agent), should not be impeded by an agent banging their ethical drum: besides, this is a disservice to the seller, who IS ostensibly getting 'representation'. Trying to avoid double-ending when it is (still) 'legal' and in scenarios where it is insisted on by both parties, is a secondary priority to ensuring that, at the very least, the party you are primarily representing is achieving their goal of seeing the transaction happen.
    However, in most cases the public is expecting some sort of 'in-their-best-interests' representation, including conducting diligence, advising them based on the agent's experience and frame of reference in relation to the client's specific situation, etc.. We are the ONLY industry that I've every heard of, where 'agency' or representation is involved, where-in one party's representation has control, or at the very least direct influence over, what the other party's representation gets paid. How is that in any way defendable in a 'fair and equal representation' context? Analogy: you're going through a divorce, and you find out that your lawyer is largely relying on the lawyer for your soon-to-be-ex-spouse for their compensation. I say, PARDON!!?
    If all buyer's agents were truly comfortable defending their value, getting buyer's agency contracts signed, and explaining to their buyers that the BUYER should control how much of the BUYER'S own money ends up in their own agents pocket, then this wouldn't be an argument (the 'seller' pays, but only by way of a listing contract which breaks off a chunk from the buyer's purchase monies for realtor fees).

  • Mark Ranger | 27 Oct 2014, 09:08 AM Agree 0
    Have the buyer consent to entering into a "Customer Relationship" instead of a "Client Relationship" thus reducing your fiduciary responsibility to that buyer.
  • Lois Lemcke | 27 Oct 2014, 09:51 AM Agree 0
    I totally agree with Judy!! I have been selling real estate in the same Village and area full time for over 30 years very successfully and I would say that 90% of my transactions were double ended. The buyer always called the listing agent as they believed they were the most knowledgeable about the property. I have found that the sellers have a bottom line and so do the buyers and that is pretty well where it settles. Now with home inspectors etc. etc. the buyer is well protected. Never used to be any problem whatsoever representing both. Why complicate a system that worked well??? You may say that there were some issues with representing both parties, I believe it is because we assume too much responsibility as agents. We are neither the buyer or the seller in a transaction, simply doing are best duty to both. We are dealing with people and the real world, where nothing is perfect and no system ever will be. I find representing both parties offers more knowledge and achieves the best results. I act as a "go-between" not their lawyer.
  • | 29 Oct 2014, 12:33 AM Agree 0
    @ 22 Oct 2014, 03:21 PM

    What's a "cut rat broker"? I'm sure you meant "rate". But what is it? Could you define what a cut rate broker is? Thanks
  • Mike Gustus | 03 Nov 2014, 12:30 PM Agree 0
    I personally very rarely double end a listing. I have one of my buyer agents write the offer and represent the buyer. I represent the seller. I have found over the many years I have in the business, that the sellers are more comfortable knowing that I exclusively represent them. I don't see problem with two agent from the same brokerage, but not the same agent representing both buyer and seller. It should not be allowed.
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