The issue of conflicts of interest between parties exists in a variety of industries. Ethics rules prohibit a single lawyer from representing competing sides in the same transaction. It’s common sense. You can’t ensure fair and equal representation to competing parties if you represent both sides. And clients want more than just fair representation; they want to feel they have an advocate who puts their interests above all others.
So why then, are real estate agents not restricted from representing competing parties in the same way lawyers are? In Pennsylvania, as in many states across the United States, real estate agents are permitted to represent both a buyer and seller (or tenant and landlord) in the same real estate transaction. It’s great for the real estate agents since they make full commissions, but what about the clients they represent?