Direct: 707-374-6491
Fax: 707-374-6866

Sam Richards GRI, Broker/Owner

BRE License #01305588      

September 24, 2014


Real Estate Q & A



Q. We made an offer to purchase through our agent, and our agent pointed out that she represented us as a buyers agent since she did not list the home. We have since learned she also represents another buyer making an offer on the same home. Hasn?t she violated her ability to properly represent us? J.Y. Rio Vista

A. If your agent was the listing agent, the home seller could have the same complaint. California law designates that representation (Agency) be defined twice on a real estate contract. The first is on page 1 of the purchase agreement, and the second is a separate one page form that clearly points out the rules of agency.  A licensed Real Estate professional is in the only profession that has potential dual agency and multiple representation.

However, even though your agent has the right to represent multiple parties, as a buyer you have the right to exclusive representation if that is your expressed desire. It sounds like a miscommunication between you and your agent.


Your next move is to take this concern to your agent and seek resolve. One suggestion would be to move your offer from your agent to someone else in her office, or perhaps her broker (boss). Ultimately this is the buyer or sellers prerogative to determine how they wish to be represented. I'll tell you this, 40% of the deals I do are dual agency where the buyer and seller are represented by me, and as long as all fiduciary duties are met there is not a problem. Representing two buyers on the same property is a little more unusual but not unheard of. The same rules for your agent apply, but if you feel that you do not have a confidential relationship and she can't even spell fiduciary, then you can simply fire her and redo the offer with another agent, but make certain that you have something in writing that you are no longer working with that first agent, and be sure to point out that you want exclusive representation.

I'm sure you can work something out with your first agent.

Q. I purchased a really nice home and I?m going to use it as a rental. I have a pretty good idea of the renter profile I desire, how can I advertise to attract who I want without getting into trouble? S.P. Rio Vista

A. Federal fair housing laws say you WILL NOT limit access to your home based on sex, familial status, religion, handicaps, ethnic or national origin. You CAN limit to non smokers, no pets, and size of the family based on 2 persons per bedroom. Another landlord option is acceptance of "section 8", this is optional for a landlord to choose whether or not to cooperate with this program.

The policies set to rent or decline must be applied to every rental applicant in the same manner, with that criteria being kept on file for audit. A property owner, for instance, could demand a credit report, job and rental history be given, and the applicant could be screened for drug arrests.

So, your ads must comply with fair housing guidelines, and limit your preferences to the guidelines mentioned above.

You can advertise the amenities the home features, but profiling a home or neighborhood to attract only certain people is prohibited. For instance, you can say near the water, but you can't say "walking distanc?", you can say 3 bedroom with large yard, but not "family home", you can state what the home has to offer, but you can't say "ideal for", and I could go on and on.

Fair housing laws are reasonable and necessary, and most violations are innocent language where an owner is trying to be descriptive to convey something attractive about the home. To make sure you are compliant with federal and state laws, you might want to log on to On this site, you can compare your ad to acceptable language and phrases.


All these rules are a good reason to use a property management company.


Confused about renting your home?

Call Sam or Peg at 707-374-6491 or visit





































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