If you have every purchased South Lake Tahoe real estate, you likely have heard the term “dual agency” at some point. Especially if you happen to be working with the South Lake Tahoe Realtor that is also representing the other party. If you are new to buying or selling real estate in South Lake Tahoe, the term “dual agency” is used when a Realtor represents both the buyer and the seller. Some Realtor’s do not do this as they feel representing both clients is difficult to manage neutrally while seasoned Realtor’s have learned to ensure both clients are satisfied and treated fairly.
Now that you know a little bit about what dual agency is, it has been big news in California this week.
The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday, November 21st that a Real Estate agent representing the seller of South Lake Tahoe real estate has the fiduciary duty to both their client AND the buyer so long as the buyer’s agent is working under the same brokerage. Currently under California law, a broker can be a dual agent for both parties if the seller and the buyer give consent after full disclosure.
This ruling stems from a case in Southern California where there was a square footage dispute. The seller’s agent stated that the property had 15,000 square feet of living space with a disclaimer at the bottom and it later came out that the home was indeed less than what was described in the listing agreement. Both parties were represented by different Coldwell Banker agents. This discrepancy in square feet lead to whether or not fiduciary duty should extend to associate licensees and the court ruled 7-0 that it does.
So what does this mean for California real estate?
It basically means that if both the buyer and the seller’s agents work under the same brokerage, they will get fiduciary duty from both sets of South Lake Tahoe realtors. While this ruling has received some push back from CAR’s general counsel, they don’t feel that this will have that big of an effect on the real estate industry. As it is, listing agents are already required by California law to disclose all facts that could affect the value and desirability of a property. Whether a murder has happened at a property or the next door neighbor is hostile, all information must be given to prospective buyers. This is on top of the inspection and any defects that are found after so in most situations all details are disclosed as it is.
Are you thinking of buying or selling real estate in South Lake Tahoe and are curious what this means for you? Give us a call to find out what your South Lake Tahoe Realtor’s duties are to you as a seller and or a buyer.