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Never - EVER - Use Just One Agent in a Transaction

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 21 September 2016 22:03

Dual agency is legal in many states – including GA. An agent isn’t required to buy or sell real estate, they are simply facilitators. However, how often does the average Joe buy and sell a home? Post-crash (and thanks to the government’s help) the seemingly simple process of buying or selling a home has become convoluted and often combative. An experienced agent can be an effective asset – experienced being the operative word. The 90-10 rule applies in this industry; unfortunately the vast majority of agents resemble a clown show.

Buyers, especially new home buyers, are the most likely to make this mistake. It’s not entirely by design but almost always because of a lack of knowledge about the process. Key points for buyers to remember:

  • The cost of having dedicated representation is almost always borne by the seller.
  • The new construction agent represents ONLY the builder.
  • The listing agent represents ONLY the seller.
  • The listing agent/new construction agent CANNOT perform any research for buyers nor offer you advice on contract prep, negotiation, inspection, appraisal or other issues that might come up.
  • Buyers will be asked to sign an acknowledgement that they understand dual agency.

Nothing good can come from this. Buyers WILL NOT “save money” on commissions. Home builders sign contracts with the agents; a standard fee is charged regardless of how many agents are involved. Since buyers rarely incur a cost for representation, why do some fail to secure it? Well, that answer is likely because the real estate industry has no entry or performance bar; the idea of going it alone might appear to make sense.

Consider a case right now headed to the CA Supreme Court: 

If a buyer and seller in a real estate transaction are each represented by separate agents from the same brokerage, do those agents owe a fiduciary duty to both buyer and seller? The California Supreme Court may soon decide that question for the more than 400,000 agents and brokers in the Golden State. The court will hear oral arguments today over interpretations of a statute that will determine whether the listing agent that participated in the 2007 sale of a Los Angeles home for $12.25 million owed fiduciary duties to the buyer. In April 2014, an appeals court said he did — and now the case is going to the state’s highest court. CLICK TO READ

The public perception of real estate agents is completely understandable – and those experienced, true professionals are the most vocal for revamping things. However, it’s clear that this industry is not going to change; change must be forced upon it. It looks like a rather simple business, but it takes a significant effort to make things look boring. When things go wrong, they tend to go wrong in very big and expensive ways – like above.

Any potential home buyer or seller should take the time to understand how an experienced agent can be an asset. Take just a few minutes and Google an agent or look them up on Zillow. That small effort will almost certainly save both time and money.


The Hank Miller Team provides confidence to clients buying and selling homes in the North Atlanta Real Estate Market. Our unmatched sales and appraisal experience, relentless drive and ability to manage transactions allow our clients to make sound, decisive real estate decisions. We offer full time, full service, personal hands on attention and concierge level service every step of the way for perhaps the most important financial decision you’ll make. 


Questions? Need more info? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 678-428-8276

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Hank Miller, SRA

Hank Miller is an Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser in the north metro Atlanta area. Since 1989, real estate has been his full time profession. Hank´s clients benefit from his appraisal and sales experience; they act upon data, not baseless opinions. He is an outspoken critic of the lax standards in the agent community.

Hank remains an active certified appraiser and completes specialty work for FNMA, lenders and attorneys. He is a well-known blogger and continues to guest write for multiple industry publications as well as national outlets like the WSJ, NYT, RE Magazine, USA Today and others. He is a regular on public Q&A sites on Zillow, Trulia and many others.

Hank consistently ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the metro Atlanta area. He runs the Hank Miller Team and is known as much for his ability as he is for his opinions. He is especially outspoken about the lack of professional standards and expectations in the real estate industry.


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