Why I Don’t Double-End

I was reminded the other day why I don’t double-end.  Double-ending is the practice in which the listing agent also represents the buyer in a sale.  It certainly is possible that neither the seller nor the buyer will be compromised by that kind of arrangement, but the certain winner in the double-ending game is always the agent, who is incentivized to close and take home double the commission.

Back to the other day…. A colleague was complaining that while she was waiting to hear back from a listing agent regarding a date that tenants would allow a viewing, the agent put the home into contract before calling her.  Yes, it turned out the agent slipped her own buyer in before other agents or buyers were allowed to see the home.  Worse, her buyer had a home to sell first and a lower price than what my colleague’s client would have paid.  In that scenario, the sellers may have lost between $25,000 and $100,000 in sales price because their home was not being exposed to the wider agent and buyer pool. 

Buyers who are relying on the seller’s agent to review areas of concern and recommend inspections may be disappointed too.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and possibly while discovering the source of the mildew smell downstairs.

Again, I’m confident I could fairly represent both sides and offer solutions to any issues that are fair.  It’s a fact though, that buyers and sellers are more likely to suspect that the agent is not looking out for their best interests in a double-ending, double-commission scenario.  Resentment can build quickly.  I don’t go there because my successful business is based on happy clients and their referrals.  Worse, on a percentage basis, there is a higher number of lawsuits on deals that are double-ended.   The only winners in that situation of course are the attorneys.