Can double-ending really be fair?

by Olivia D'Orazio22 Oct 2014
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.
“If there’s a multiple offer situation and the listing agent has his own buy offer, it is Harvey Kalles’ policy that we have another agent or manager present on their behalf,” says Ira Jelinek, an agent in Toronto. “So I’ll never represent the buyer and seller in multiple offer situations. I’ll have someone work on behalf of me.”
Most protocols, whether put in place by a brokerage or by a provincial regulating body, call for agents to provide fair and unbiased services to all their clients, no matter the situation.
“Multiple offer situations are pretty tough,” says Peter Redekopp, a managing sales rep in Winnipeg. “We have a strict protocol here in Manitoba…basically agents are required to provide a level playing field.”
Regardless of the number of offers, Redekopp says agents need to cover their bases to ensure they are remaining within the confines of ethical practices. For instance, Redekopp says agents should inform potential clients that they are representing other players, and that buyers are entitled to their own representation. Agents are also not permitted to disclose private information to competing parties or to the buyer or seller.
Indeed, double-ending agents essentially act as arbitrators between clients: presenting a buyer’s offer to the seller, and presenting a seller’s counter offer to buyers. Redekopp says agents should still educate their clients about market conditions, but keep from revealing private information, such as the motivation for selling.
“You have to treat each party fairly and let them come to their own decisions,” he tells REP. “And keep your nose clean.”


  • by judy 10/22/2014 3:11:51 PM

    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.

  • by 10/22/2014 3:21:30 PM


  • by Patricia 10/22/2014 3:22:31 PM

    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.

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