Can a Real Estate Agent Represent Both Buyer and Seller in Maryland?

By klrw460 July 3, 2024

In the world of real estate, the roles and responsibilities of agents can sometimes be complex and confusing, especially when it comes to representing both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. This practice, known as dual agency, is legal in many states, including Maryland. However, it comes with specific rules and ethical considerations to ensure fairness and transparency for both parties. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of dual agency, its legality in Maryland, the potential benefits and drawbacks, and what you should consider if you find yourself in this situation.

What is Dual Agency?

Dual agency occurs when a single real estate agent or brokerage represents both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. This can happen either when an individual agent is working with both parties or when two agents from the same brokerage represent each side. The key characteristic of dual agency is that the same brokerage is involved on both sides of the deal.

Is Dual Agency Legal in Maryland?

Yes, dual agency is legal in Maryland, but it is subject to strict regulations to protect the interests of both the buyer and the seller. The Maryland Real Estate Commission requires that both parties give their informed consent to dual agency. This means that the agent must fully disclose the nature of dual agency and obtain written permission from both the buyer and the seller before proceeding.

Benefits of Dual Agency
Dual agency can offer several potential benefits, including:
  1. Streamlined Communication: With one agent or brokerage handling both sides, communication can be more efficient, potentially leading to a smoother transaction process.
  2. Cost Savings: In some cases, the commission may be lower since it is split between fewer parties.
  3. Comprehensive Market Knowledge: A dual agent might have a more holistic view of the market and can provide insights that benefit both parties.
Drawbacks of Dual Agency

Despite the potential benefits, the dual agency also presents several significant drawbacks:

  1. Conflict of Interest: The most notable concern is the inherent conflict of interest. An agent representing both parties must balance competing interests, which can be challenging.
  2. Limited Advocacy: In a dual agency, the agent cannot fully advocate for either party. This means they cannot provide the same level of guidance and negotiation tactics they would if representing only one side.
  3. Confidentiality Issues: Maintaining confidentiality can be difficult in a dual agency situation, as the agent must carefully navigate sharing information that could affect the negotiation process.
Legal Requirements and Ethical Considerations

In Maryland, real estate agents must adhere to several legal and ethical guidelines when engaging in dual agency:

  1. Disclosure and Consent: Agents must disclose their dual agency status to both parties and obtain their written consent. This disclosure must include an explanation of the potential risks and limitations of dual agency.
  2. Neutrality: Once a dual agency is established, the agent must remain neutral and avoid favoring either party. This includes refraining from advising on price or negotiation strategies.
  3. Confidentiality: The agent must protect the confidential information of both parties, ensuring that no sensitive information is used to the detriment of either party.
What to Consider as a Buyer or Seller

If you are a buyer or seller faced with the possibility of dual agency, here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Understand the Implications: Ensure you fully understand what dual agency means and how it could impact your transaction. Ask your agent to explain the potential risks and benefits.
Seek Independent Advice: Consider consulting with an independent real estate professional or attorney to get an unbiased perspective on the situation.

Assess Your Comfort Level: Determine if you are comfortable with the agent’s ability to remain neutral and manage the potential conflicts of interest inherent in dual agency.

In conclusion, dual agency is a legal and practical arrangement in Maryland real estate transactions that requires careful consideration and informed consent from both the buyer and the seller. While it can offer benefits in terms of efficiency and cost savings, the potential conflicts of interest and limitations on advocacy make it a complex choice. By understanding the rules and implications of dual agency, you can make a more informed decision and ensure that your interests are adequately protected.

If you require assistance with dual agency or any other real estate problems, please visit to schedule an appointment or contact our team leader, Jamal Daniels, at 240-226-0909 or Our knowledgeable team is dedicated to providing you with the professional and ethical real estate services that you deserve.