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What is Dual Agency?

We often get asked “What is dual agency in real estate?” by both buyers and sellers and, as you’ll see, we have strong feelings on the subject.

By definition, dual agency means that the real estate agent is representing both parties in a transaction.  For example, we are representing the sellers of 123 Main Street. We advised them on how they should price the home to be competitive in the market, but still meet their financial goals. We’ve also advised them on how to stage the home so it will sell fast, done all of the marketing for the home, put it in MLS, conducted Broker Open Houses, met their kids, snuck treats to their dogs, etc.

Totally unrelated, we meet you. You ask us to help you find the perfect home for you.  We tour tons of properties together, go through your finances with your mortgage lender to determine what you can comfortable afford, meet your parents, cousins, kids, fish, etc.  One of the properties we see is 123 Main Street, which you decide is the home for you. It’s perfect, it has rainbows over the house, unicorns flying off the roof and little leprechauns with pots of gold in the yard.  You want this house.

The problem is that I now know confidential financial information about both you, the buyer, as well as the sellers. In PA, as long as you and the seller sign off saying you want us to represent you both in the transaction, it’s legal. I act as an intermediary and help you both come to an agreement on the sales price of the home and the terms. However, we are NOT allowed to advise you in any way or make suggestions about what you should offer the seller, etc.  Well then, what did you hire me for? If I am representing the seller, it’s my job to get the highest price and best terms for the seller that I can. And if I;m representing the buyer my job is to get the lowest price and best terms for the buyer that we can. After all, that’s why you picked me over Sally Jo. I am a master negotiator.

So how can I represent both the buyer and seller fairly? In my humble opinion, I can’t.  No Realtor can. It’s a conflict of interest. I would almost never work as a dual agent and would rather refer my buyer to a different agent who can handle the negotiation on their behalf, even though that means losing part of my commission.  It’s the right thing to do.

What should you say if your agent wants you to agree to dual agency? I would consider asking to be referred to another agent.

However, there are instances where a potential conflict could be avoided by having the broker themselves negotiate the deal. OR having another agent on the team represent you, the buyer.

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Gina Casner

In 2016, I began my tenure in real estate as a licensed Executive Assistant for a leading real estate training coach and subsequently for high-producing real estate teams. I very quickly fell in love with real estate and by 2019, I transitioned into personally helping clients turn their dreams into keys. After dozens of transactions, I have been dubbed the “unicorn hunter,” finding out-of-the-box solutions for clients looking for a home with unique requirements. In addition to managing my real estate practice, I am involved in providing community education on responsible home ownership through my exclusive Path to Home Ownership workshop series. I also am the founder of Chronically Strong, an organization that promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention in our local communities. I take a holistic and individualized approach to real estate. Buying or selling a home in Central PA can be complex, sophisticated and often a deeply personal endeavor. Your experience should mimic the high level of customer service all of my clients have, while being very specific to your own individual needs. I work with a team of experts to provide a full, complete experience that only a cohesive team can consistently provide. Working with us, you will be given personal attention in every aspect of your home buying and selling experience with the professionalism and consistency of a thoughtful business model. And yes, superior results will follow! On a personal note, I attribute my success not only to my passion for helping clients execute on their next “big move”, but also to my knowledge regarding the psychology of buying and selling. My clientele works in diverse industries with an emphasis on technology, finance, medicine, law, and business. My real estate practice has grown successfully and consistently thanks to the repeat business of happy clients and their introductions to friends, family and neighbors. This track record is only possible because we deliver both results AND an enjoyable experience. Growing up, my family moved frequently all across the continental U.S., but you will hear me say that I am from California because that is the longest place that I lived during my formative years. Moving became a way of life for my family and each place I lived became a part of my story. It taught me that our home truly is the foundation of everything in our lives, and it is this belief that compels me to work hard for my clients when they are buying or selling their home. In many ways, our home becomes a part of our identity, an identity and memory that should be honored. I have been accused of being tenacious and super honest. I like to win (for my clients) but do so with a calm demeanor and a smile. I live in a raised ranch home in Lower Paxton Township with my main squeeze, my teenage son, and our very spoiled dog, Ginger. I have mad faith, and truly believe that each and every one of us is capable of great things. I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors’ in Sociology. There is a running joke in my family that every day I go to real estate school because every day my clients teach me something new. I continually invest time, money and thought into the latest sales, marketing and negotiation techniques. Why? Because I believe that you deserve to have the best working for you. I want to live life on my own terms, and am committed to helping you do the same. Would you like to work together? Please reach out. I look forward to hearing from you! Gina

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