From a customer's perspective, there could be considerable risk involved because of the potential for a "conflict of interest" when representing both the buyer and seller. Some states do not allow this type of business relationship while others do. It's easily understood why some consider this inappropriate.
Not sure if your a consumer or a Realtor, but from a consumers point of view, not a good idea. If your in a rual area and there is only one Realtor around, you may have to go that route. In Houston, there are plenty of Realtors to assist both sides of the transaction.
Dual Agency simply means one Realtor working with both sides as the only agent. He/she is not supposed to give advise to either side in negotiations and simply assist both sides, somewhat like a mediator. This agent is not splitting their commissions with anyone and you have to ask who wins in this set up? Not the buyer or seller!
You can ask the agent to refer you to someone within their office to represent you and this agent can collect a referral fee. That way both sides get representation and the commissions stay at the one firm. If you need to hire a Realtor to represent you, do that now! Discuss how he/she will get paid as you might have to pay for their services. In Houston, buyer's agent typically are paid by the seller or their listing agent. Notice my ABR designation at the top by my name? I represent buyers and can assist you and educate you on the facts before you go forward with any home purchase.
Bernstein Realty, Inc