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This article was published on: 10/01/2001



We can’t represent both sides

I read with great interest “Agency choices abound” (August 2001, page 9). I’m a licensed salesperson in Illinois, where much to my chagrin, disclosed dual agency is permitted under the law.

It is my firm belief that the practice of dual agency, disclosed or otherwise, should be illegal. During my one dual agency experience, both parties had purchased and sold homes in the past, and both parties fully understood what I could and could not do in my role as a dual agent. In addition to having both parties sign all of the requisite dual agency disclosures, I contacted both attorneys to specifically let them know that I’d be proceeding as a dual agent, so that they could advise their clients accordingly. Still, unanticipated inspection issues arose, and neither of my clients could turn to me for advice; rather, I could act only as a mediator. When the transaction finally closed, I felt as though I had been unable to do my job as thoroughly as I would have liked, and one of my clients told me explicitly that, although he understood and agreed to the dual agency arrangement, that he would never do it again.

Both buyers and sellers benefit from the advice and zealous representation of their own agents, especially when those clients are suddenly confronted by adversity. At best, dual agency provides less effective representation for the same price as exclusive agency; at worst, dual agency leaves clients out in the cold while providing a strong financial incentive for the agent to cut ethical corners. I like my work as an expert consultant and advocate on behalf of my clients. Dual agency strips away the most important and most rewarding aspects of my job.

Matt Difanis, Coldwell Banker Devonshire Realty, Champaign, Ill.


Study lacks credibility

In your coverage of the new Bush administration proposal to give the federal government eminent domain authority to add power lines (“Power lines vs. property rights,” July 2001, page 18), you speak of the unresolved area of possible cancer threats from electromagnetic fields.

Reason Magazine, November 1999, tells how researcher Robert P. Liburdy allegedly falsified some of the earliest findings that electromagnetic fields may cause cancer. He worked for California’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and the lab may be forced to repay more than $800,000 in grant money. The Office of Research Integrity, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reported Liburdy had committed “scientific misconduct” by “intentionally falsifying and fabricating” data.

From what I have heard, there’s nothing to worry about possible cancer threats from power lines, at least until experiments are repeated.

R.W. Robinson, Americus Realty, Sequim, Wash.

In “Top 100 Salespeople” (September 2001, page 29), Eleanor Mowery Sheets should have been ranked number four on the “Top 10 Ranked by Sales Volume” list. She tied with salesperson Eric Anderson at $123 million in sales volume.

The “Letters” page is a forum for readers to express their views. Letters are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter doesn’t constitute an endorsement of the writer’s views by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® or REALTOR® Magazine.

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