It's interesting that nobody endorses dual agency -- it's not legal in Kansas, but we have "Transaction Broker" agency relationships. As described, a "Transaction Broker" has promised to advocate for neither the Seller nor the Buyer, and the relationship must be agreed upon by all parties. I've compared the relationship to "family business" in which the parties must come to a reasonable, mutually acceptable agreement, and everybody should still feel comfortable with each other when the deal is done. A buyer and seller aren't adversaries, as many agents may feel, but are mutually inclined to the same general result: the transfer of property. An agreement still means that all parties are signing a contract. If they don't like the terms, don't sign.
In some cases, the agent knows the property extraordinarily better than another agent, and may indeed be able to honestly assist both parties. Unfortunately, where money is concerned, it's hard to trust anybody. At least a buyer's agent can ask informed questions. It's also dubious to carve commissions, especially in a multi-offer situation. In Kansas, it's not ethical to negotiate commission with a buyer , but the SELLER can negotiate their commission with their agent. To sum up, you have to have some knowledge of real estate and a great sense of the integrity of the people involved to determine whether or not all can be trusted. Frankly, I've been impressed with people's integrity more often than their dishonesty, but that doesn't mean I encourage my kids to trust everybody! Do take care.