7 Reasons Dual Agency Can Be a Mistake in North Carolina

A Female Real Estate Agent Talking to a Buyer and Seller

As buyers face rising costs for purchasing a home, the concept of dual agency often comes into play. This is where a single real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. While it might sound convenient, this practice is fraught with complexities and potential conflicts of interest, particularly in the vibrant market in and surrounding New Hanover County. Here, we’ll navigate through the seven reasons why opting for dual agency might not be the wisest decision when dealing with property transactions in North Carolina.

Please note: Dual Agency should not be confused with a Designated Dual Agent, which is when the agent representing the buyer and the agent representing the seller are two different people from the same brokerage. 

1. Conflict of Interest

At its core, dual agency represents a fundamental conflict of interest. An agent is tasked with getting the best deal for the seller while also seeking the lowest price for the buyer. When these roles merge, the agent’s ability to advocate effectively for either party is compromised. In North Carolina’s dynamic markets, where negotiation subtleties can significantly affect outcomes, having an agent solely on your side is invaluable.

2. Diminished Negotiation Leverage

Negotiation is an art, especially in real estate. A dedicated agent uses their skills to leverage the best terms for their client. However, in a dual agency scenario, the agent knows the bottom line for both parties, potentially stymieing robust negotiation. For sellers in areas like Brunswick County, where property values might be on the rise, this could mean not getting the highest possible price. For buyers in up-and-coming areas like Pender County, this might result in paying more than necessary.

A Female Real Estate Agent Talking to a Home Buyer in Front of New Construction

A Female Real Estate Agent Talking to a Home Buyer in Front of New Construction

3. Reduced Advocacy

In a traditional buyer or seller representation, your agent is your advocate, advisor, and confidant. They’re there to listen to your concerns, champion your interests, and guide you through the complexities of real estate transactions. Under dual agency, this level of advocacy is diluted. An agent divided cannot provide the undivided attention and dedication that separate buyer and seller agents can offer.

4. Limited Transparency

Real estate transactions require transparency and trust. Dual agents might inadvertently withhold information to prevent jeopardizing the deal, believing it serves both parties’ interests. However, this lack of transparency can lead to decisions made without all the facts, potentially detrimental to buyers or sellers who aren’t fully aware of the property’s nuances or market conditions.

5. Ethical Dilemmas

Dual agency can create a minefield of ethical dilemmas. An agent might feel pressured to close the deal quickly to satisfy both parties, potentially overlooking better options or failing to disclose all details. In markets like Onslow County, where military relocations are common, and timing is crucial, a rushed decision can have significant long-term impacts.

Lawyer Speaking with a Home Seller

Lawyer Speaking with a Home Seller

6. Legal Complications

North Carolina, like many states, has stringent regulations governing dual agency. Both parties must provide explicit consent, and the agent must navigate a tightrope of legal obligations. Missteps can lead to legal complications, including lawsuits alleging breach of fiduciary duty. For a transaction as significant as a real estate purchase or sale, involving clear, dedicated legal responsibilities is crucial.

7. Personalized Service Loss

Real estate is more than just transactions; it’s about understanding clients’ unique needs, desires, and dreams. A dual agent juggling both sides might not have the capacity to provide the personalized service that clients deserve. For a team like The Cameron Team, with a deep commitment to individualized attention, the loss of this personal touch goes against the very ethos of our service.


Navigating the real estate market in North Carolina’s diverse counties is no small feat. The complexities of transactions in places like Wilmington and beyond require dedicated, focused representation. While dual agency might seem convenient, the potential downsides are significant. From conflicts of interest to diminished advocacy, the risks often outweigh the benefits. As a buyer or seller, having an agent solely in your corner, who understands the local market’s nuances and is committed to your interests, isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity for a successful, satisfactory real estate transaction.

When you’re ready to step into the real estate market, remember that the path to your new home or the sale of your current property is best navigated with a trusted, dedicated advocate by your side. In the end, the peace of mind and the assurance that your interests are being fully represented are worth far more than the perceived convenience of dual agency. So, choose wisely, and ensure your real estate journey in North Carolina is a smooth and rewarding one.

About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.