If you haven't left anything out, yup, it definitely smells fishy. BUT in defense of not always going with highest and best, many banks want easiest sale. CASH IS KING which is what I tell my investors. Banks will sometimes take 10% less than the highest offer if it is all cash, close at the bank's convenience, no home inspection, no dewinterization, no trashout. I have won many a "bidding war" without paying the most, it's all a gamble, but my buyers know what they're looking at when figuring the cost of home repairs, most likely, much better than I do.
I had something very similar happen last year. I had a property listed for $375,000 last year and the zestimate was showing a value of $212,000. I sold the property in 39 days for $378,000 with multiple offers. It's designed to give you an idea but it can't take things into account like location, or historic properties, or in my case waterfront homes.
I'm not sure I understand fully the scenario you are posing? If you are buying, what you get from a buyer's agent scopes more than just paperwork. Is your lawyer preparing a market analysis for you? Do they even have access to the information to perform one to make sure you aren't overpaying for the home? As agents we can connect you with lenders and home inspectors, not sure if your state is a lawyer state or title state, but I agree with Cindy, at 3%, the lawyer here is potentially making far more than their hourly rate depending on the sales price. Real estate agents are not lawyers, just as lawyers aren't real estate agents. I don't got to my doctor for a toothache just like I don't ask my dentist about chest pain. Go to the professional in your area who is known for what they do. Need a good agent, just ask around. I'm sure there are dozens of people you interact with that have had good and bad dealings with agents. When you meet with an agent ask some hard questions like 1 how long have you been in the business, 2 how many homes have you sold in the last 12 months 3 whats your average list to sell price when representing buyers. A good agent can save you thousands while using someone who "can do it for you" can cost you thousands. Good luck!