This is called dual agency. A slang term for it used by agents is, "double ending." Alright, so what is "dual agency," who does the Agent actually work for? A lot of questions around this topic..
The Agency Disclosure form says this about dual agency:
The agent representing both seller and buyer is the heading, a real estate agent either acting directly or through one or more associate licensees can legally be the agent of both the seller and the buyer in a transaction, but only with the knowledge and consent of both the seller and the buyer. In a dual dual agency situation the agent has the following affirmative obligations to both the seller and the buyer.
Firstly, a fuduciary duty of utmost care, integrity, honesty and loyalty, in the dealings with either of the seller or buyer.
Secondly other duties to the seller and the buyer as stated above in their respective sections. In representing both seller and buyer, the agent may not without express permission, of the respective party disclose to the other party that the seller will accept a price less than the listing price, or that the buyer will pay a price greater than the price offered.
The above duties of the agent in a real estate transaction do not release a seller or buyer from their responsibility to protect his or her own interests. You should carefully review all agreements to ensure that they are adequetly expressive of your understanding of the transaction.
A real estate agent is a person qualified to advise about real estate. If legal or tax advice is desired you should consult a competent professional such as a CPA or a tax attorney.
Really, dual agency is not a terrible thing. I have done lots of dual agency transactions, in which both parties were happy and achieved their independent goals.
As long as you're comfortable with the agent, and the agent is qualified to represent both buyers and sellers - and I recommend that the agent be a REALTOR in addition to being a licensed agent - there is a difference.
For more information on this topic, I'm happy to talk to you!
I'm Temple Schneider Callahan, Owner / Broker of Connect Real Estate Services, operating here locally in Ventura County - helping Ventura County's BEST home buyers and home sellers. :-) Talk soon!
Temple Schneider Callahan..
Real Estate Broker for Connect Real Estate Services..
Office: (805) 258-7177
Direct: (805) 208-6024