I'm seeing situations starting to pop up again in a lot of blogs around the internet.
Buyer calls an agent and asks them to show them a home. The agent asks THAT questions: "Are you working with an agent?" More times than not, the buyer responds with one of the following:
1. I am but my agent is on vacation/took the day off.
2. I am but my agent's office is alllllllllll the way across town and you're right next to that house.
3. I am but it's the weekend and I didn't want to bother him/her.
4. I am but your name came up next to the house so you can show it to me.
5. I am but ..... (fill in the blank).
If you're wondering why we ask - if you are working with another agent, you are contractually obligated to that agent. You have agreed to work with that agent to finding and purchasing your new home. If I were to jump in the middle of it, I would be in SERIOUS trouble with just about every single REALTOR® entity I'm associated with. I cannot legally help you.
A good agent will, in the case of their going on vacation or taking a day off, enlist the help of another agent in their office to cover clients while they are away. That agent can only be from their office...not a competing office. If your agent didn't give you the name of who is covering for them, call their office. If your agent didn't appoint anyone, someone from their office should be able to assist you.
Likewise, if you are doing an internet search via Zillow, Trulia, or other sites, agent names will pop up next to listings that are not associated with that listing. We agents buy advertising on these sites to be more prominent. Again, if you are working with an agent, you need to let that agent know that you are interested in the house. If you call me to see it or ask questions about it, I'm going to ask you THAT question and then refer you back to your agent.
There are a lot of legalities that come into play as a buyer's agent. The biggest one is stepping on another agent's toes. There is not one agent in this world that would do that. And, if there is - and you happen to run across them - turn around and go the other way. Quickly.