You may have seen that in a recent article published in the Chicago Tribune about dual agency, the author states states “real estate agents often are not required by law to represent the interests of buyers or sellers.”
As you know, that couldn’t be further from the truth in Illinois. Here, real estate agents are required by law — the Real Estate License Act — to honestly represent buyers and sellers. And, of course, as REALTORS®️, MORe members are further bound to stand for the best interests of their clients by the NAR Code of Ethics.
But this article paints an inaccurate representation of dual agency. It doesn’t mention that in Illinois, homebuyers and sellers have control in dual agency situations because Illinois law requires their consent. Neither does the Consumer Federation of America report released this month that paints a bleak picture of dual agency.
Have any of your clients seen stories like these and asked about them? Here are some things you can share with them about Illinois law:
1. REALTORS®️ in Illinois are bound by the Real Estate License Act
This act lays out statutory duties including:
- Perform the responsibilities of any brokerage agreement
- Exercise reasonable skill and care for the client
- Act in the best interest of the client
- Keep client information confidential
- Comply with all federal and state housing regulations
2. REALTORS®️ in Illinois must acquire informed, written consent before acting as a dual agent.
If your buyer is interested in one of your listings but concerned about a dual agency situation, make sure they know their rights. They will need to provide two separate disclosure agreements:
- Informed written consent before you begin acting as a dual agent
- Confirmation before you begin working on an offer
Walk the client through the informed consent agreement so they fully understand and feel comfortable with how it clearly lays out what you can and can’t disclose to a client. Make sure that they understand that they will have to confirm the agreement before you begin working on an offer with either party, so they can still change course if they become uncomfortable with the arrangement before an offer is made.
3. REALTORS®️ are held to a higher standard.
As you know, anyone with a real estate license can be a real estate agent, but REALTORS® are held to higher standards. REALTORS® follow a strict Code of Ethics set by the National Association of REALTORS®. But do your clients know that?
Be sure to give your clients opportunities to ask questions about any concerns they may have about dual agency or other aspects of how you are serving their best interests, and share more information about NAR’s standards and their rights as buyers or sellers.
Clearly, there is misinformation out there about topics like dual agency and how they impact consumers. But you can reassure your clients that there are protections in place, and that a dual agency situation can actually, with their consent, work in their favor.