The home buying process is full of possible problems. The bottom line is that most of the valuable work comes after your dream home goes under contract. The fact that a buyer's agent can show you any available home is great, but that is not the primary reason why you hire someone to help during this emotionally charged period of your life.
The value of a buyer's agent in the modern real estate landscape is absolute. If you are in the market to buy a home and you are calling on yard signs and on Zillow listings you are doing it wrong. Most of those yard signs are under contract. Same goes for Zillow, many of the homes that you see sold months ago.
OK, so you did some research, or maybe this is your 9th home purchase. Good, that means you are better able to determine who to hire, and more importantly, who not to hire as a buyer's agent. All agents start out as buyer's agents, and we don't like to speak ill of others, but the bar is set very low in this industry. The average full-time agent does less than five transactions a year.
Make sure to research real estate agents and check out their testimonials. It's very easy to do. Just Google their name. If you use the first agent that you talk to for help on writing a contract, it is like playing Russian Roulette. The likelihood that they closed on a house in the last month, let alone the last year, is much lower than you would think. Experience matters and who you work with matters.
Buyer representation is free of charge to buyers. The seller pays the buyer's agent's commission. So you can hire a massively experienced Realtor who handles everything for you without being charged a dime. That's why it's important to find someone you and your family trust because this will probably amount to your biggest transaction both financially and emotionally.
As you interview agents make sure they have a process and can clearly articulate what they do to bring you value that goes beyond opening doors and writing a contract. Every transaction is unique, but we use the same process every single time because IT WORKS!