In North Carolina, when a seller and a buyer are represented by the same real estate firm, it creates a dual agency situation. Dual agency doesn't just happen when the same agent represents both sides of the transaction. Even if there are two different agents at the same firm involved in the transaction, dual agency is created because the firm technically represents each client (not the individual agent).
Dual agency must be authorized in writing by each party in the transaction, and this authorization happens in the listing agreement (seller) or the buyer agency agreement (buyer). NC real estate agents owe honesty, discretion, and fairness when acting in a dual agency capacity. However, our standard contract forms place some limits on the disclosure of confidential information between parties. These limits help to alleviate most of the primary concerns buyers and sellers would have in a dual-agency transaction. For example, information about a seller's/buyer's motivations for selling/buying are considered confidential - the agent would not disclose information regarding a client's motivations without express consent from that client to share with the opposing party. The same applies when discussing price negotiations and other terms or conditions of the contract.
In North Carolina, a real estate agent who lists his/her own property (or property belonging to the firm) may not represent a buyer in the sale. This creates a particular conflict of interest when an agent sells a property he/she owns and also attempts to represent a buyer's best interests at the same time, so it is prohibited.
At the first substantial contact with a North Carolina real estate agent, you should be presented with the pamphlet, called Working with Real Estate Agents. Your agent will review the pamphlet with you, and explain the different types of agency representation available in NC. After review, your agent will ask you to sign the acknowledgement page indicating that you have received the pamphlet and your agent has explained it to you. We encourage you to ask any additional questions if you do not fully understand before you sign the acknowledgement page.
All parties in a transaction deserve nothing less than the best representation; therefore, our agents are trained to handle opposing interests for buyers and sellers in the most professional and fair manner possible.