Should dual agencies be banned?

by Neil Sharma09 Feb 2018
The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate’s proposed ban on dual agency—when a sales agent represents both a buyer and a seller—in British Columbia are being met with mixed feelings, especially in the north of the province.

According to The Columbia Valley Pioneer, sales agents in the rural north are concerned consumers will be left with fewer choices when it comes to buying and selling homes. While the intention is to protect consumers, persistently potential conflicts of interest could stymie agents’ abilities to find work.

Agents also expressed frustration at seemingly benign instances where a trusted agent known to both buyer and seller would have to decline participation in a transaction.

“Imagine taking a transfer to one of these small communities but you cannot find a local agent to represent you as a buyer’s agent because they all have agency relationships with sellers,” John Evans, president of the Northern Real Estate Board, was quoted as saying in The Columbia Valley Pioneer.

Evans added that it might result in the importing out-of-town agents who have scant knowledge of local markets, including things like the location of the latest grow-op home, which drastically reduce a homes value.

“The loss of dual agency will restrict the services that we can provide to the consumer.” Continued Evans. “‘I’m sorry sir, I cannot show you homes. I’m sorry Ma’am, I cannot help you with your high assessment. I’m sorry you two, despite the fact that you are good friends and going through a divorce I cannot help you determine the value of your home. I’m sorry, I can put my sign on your lawn but I can’t sell your home to any of my former clients.’”

However, Century 21 In Town Realty’s Eniz Azis told REP that consumer protection should always be paramount.

“I think anything that’s a benefit for the public is a good thing,” he said. “If dual agencies are banned, it will be a good thing.”

Related stories:
B.C. superintendent of real estate pushing for discipline hearing
B.C. real estate watchdog approves ban on "dual agency"

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