Dual agency, put simply, is one agent representing both the seller and buyer. The agent is responsible for the interests of both parties. In Oregon, the buyer and seller must agree, in writing, to dual agency. Transactions where there is an agent for the buyer and an agent for the seller is called a co-op transaction. The footer at the bottom of this page has a link to the Agency Disclosure Pamphlet.
As a rule, we will not be dual party agents. In our opinion, one person can not successfully represent two competing sides equally. Dual agency is great for the agent- they typically earn the entire commission or take a small discount from the full commission offered if it was a co-op transaction. It also creates a greater financial incentive to “get the deal done.” The financial windfall often leads to softer ethics as evidenced by the fact that the majority of real estate complaints involve a dual agent (source OAR GRI conference in Sunriver 3/06).
The only place I’d take a softer stance on dual agency is with new construction but ultimately, dual agency seems to be a bad idea. In our case, if we find a buyer that is interested in our listing, we will refer it to another agent.