A DRE licensee in CA can act as a Buyer or Seller's agent. Similarly, that same person can act as both in a transaction - with the documented consent of both Buyer and Seller. An undisclosed dual-agency is a felony in CA. This is a topic that was covered quite well in during my Accredited Buyerâ€™s Representative (ABR) Certification.
An Agent has certain Fiduciary duties to a client (A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care possible). These can be boiled down to Loyalty, Obedience, Diligence, Disclosure, Accountability, and Confidentiality.
Here's the core potential problem: One Agent cannot provide full Disclosure and maintain full Confidentiality at the same time. To avoid this conflict of duties, a Dual-Agent may not place either client into a beneficial position over the other.
For example, a Dual-Agent can provide the asking price of a home but canâ€™t provide advice as to its appropriateness. Similarly, say a Dual-Agent performs a Comprehensive Market Analysis. The findings can be shared between the two parties, but not interpreted for either client. In these situations, I have suggested that a current market appraisal be used to set price, with the appraiser being selected by both parties.
The decision to allow a dual agency is a personal choice. Your question concerning advantages or disadvantages should additionally be directed towards the agent. Based on those responses you can make a decision. You may also want the agent to provide referrals that you can contact to see how prior transaction went (ask them if they would do it again).
Since the Seller pays the commission to the Buyer's Agent there really is no reason not to get professional guidance when purchasing a home if identifiable benefits of the proposed dual-agency are not present. After all, the Seller starts off with dedicated representation â€“ you may want this too!