We’ve had several posts and discussions about a listing agent selling his or her listing to his own buyer. It’s questionable if an agent can be loyal to a seller and perform his fiduciary duty to get the highest possible price for the property when working with his own buyer. Unlike other states, dual agency is perfectly legal and ethical according to the real estate rules and regs in new Jersey. But what about this situation?
Agents typically work with multiple buyers at once. A property is on the market for sale. Two or three of the agent’s buyers all wish to make an offer on the same unit at the same time. They will be bidding against each other and the agent knows all of the bids. This situation is not considered dual agency since there is no agency relationship. (This assumes the buyer did not sign any type of buyers agreement – a rare occurrence in Hoboken). According to NJ rules, the agent is merely a transaction broker whose goal is to get the deal done fairly.
The NAR Code of Ethics says: When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.
What does that mean? Does the agent have to tell each of the buyers about the other offers? Is it up to the agent or up to the seller? What do you think?