Samuel Bayer

Volume 72, Issue 2, 663-686

California has long permitted dual agency representation in residential real estate transactions, and consumers have long maligned the practice as presenting an unavoidable conflict of interest. However, dual agency provides benefit to consumers in some situations, and those benefits are often overlooked by those who seek to prevent it altogether. Recent statutory changes in California and other states have attempted to resolve dual agency conflicts of interest while allowing the practice to continue (at least in some form). However, these attempts have largely failed to quell consumer frustrations due to a few fundamental miscommunications between consumers and legislators. By clarifying how consumers understand terms like “real estate agent” and “dual agency,” and by analyzing and compiling various statutory schemes in states across the country, California legislators may be able to rectify the situation, enacting statutory changes that finally resolve consumer frustrations without abolishing dual agency altogether.