Question: I am a new real estate agent who has been doing “open houses” on Sunday afternoons for other agents in our Glendale real estate office. I have been told by these agents that my goal at the open house is to not only find a buyer for the listed home, but to also find buyers that may want me to show them similar homes. Last week I was doing an open house for one home, but I thought another home would be more suitable for a buyer who was at the “open house.” Am I allowed to tell that buyer that another home might be better? Do I then become a dual agent? I am very confused about dual agency, as even my broker and other real estate agents in my office seem to be uncomfortable discussing dual agency. Help!

Answer: If you are holding an “open house” on a home listed by your brokerage firm, you are only the agent of the seller of that listed home. You are not a dual agent by simply marketing the home to buyers at the “open house.”  Therefore, because you represent only the seller of the home, you cannot discuss with potential buyers of the home the advantages of another home. If a potential buyer is no longer interested in the “open house” home, however, you may later be able to represent that buyer in purchasing another home.

Note: A real estate agent can only become a dual agent with the written consent of both the seller and the buyer.

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