Industry News

Agency law could harm real estate consumers

State divided over controversial 'designated agency' measure

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A divisive real estate law in Massachusetts, enacted July 1, allows two real estate agents from the same office to represent a home buyer and a home seller in the same real estate transaction. Opponents say that this practice, known as "designated agency," introduces a greater potential for conflicts of interest and sharing of confidential information in home sales, while proponents say it allows consumers the option to work with a familiar agent even if that agent works at the same office as an agent representing the other side of a real estate transaction. The designated agency law in Massachusetts states, "With informed written consent . . . a real estate broker or salesman may appoint one or more licensees to act as a designated agent on behalf of a seller and may appoint one or more other licensees to act as a designated agent on behalf of a purchaser for a potential real estate transaction." Buyers or sellers can consent to designated agency by signing a disclosure form, the law...