This is a great question: Should the listing agent also represent the buyer?
Dual-agency or double-ending a real estate transaction is very common.
It's also VERY problematic.
Most Realtors LOVE the idea of representing both parties - buyer and seller - in a transaction. Almost all of that is motivated by commission; the rest of the motivation is usually due to control. Almost none of the motivation is due to an interest in passionately representing the interests of their client.
This is because it's impossible to represent two parties whose interest are in conflict - obtaining the best possible price and terms.
Home buyers are also oftentimes confused by this as well, thinking that dealing directly with the listing agent will result in a reduction in price due to a (very slightly) reduced commission. But this 1 or 1 1/2% savings is far smaller than the savings possible when their interests are zealously represented by their own agent.
There are three main issues with dual-agency/doubling-ending:
- Divided Loyalty
- A Listing Agent and Buyers Agent Are Different Jobs
- The Difference Between a Coach and a RefereeThis video discusses these issues, arguing that a good listing agent NEVER leaves the side of their seller client to also represent the home's buyer.
In some states, double-ending transactions is illegal. In California, although it is totally legal (provided all parties sign off on it), most of the lawsuits that land up on the desk of the President of the California Bureau of Real Estate include circumstances where both parties are represented by one agent.
Another way to look at it: if you were involved in a lawsuit, would you ever consider hiring the opposing party's counsel? Even if they quoted a massively reduced price, appealed to their full knowledge of the case's particulars, and assured you that a mutually-beneficial result was most likely if you hired them? Of COURSE not. You'd get your own attorney. Having a Realtor represent you and a potential buyer is no differnet.
Bottom line: only hire an agent to help you sell your home who will promise to never ever leave your side!