Buying a home is not an event - it's a process.
One of the best ways to make the home buying experience a pleasant one, is to become better-acquainted with your options and clearly define your goals. Understanding the reasons you want to buy—and what you want to accomplish in your move—will go a long way towards shaping your plans and improving your results.
You should also decide who you will work with throughout this process, are you do-it-all-alone risk-taker, or a savvy long term investor? For most people, buying a home is the biggest investment they will ever make and that’s why it’s important to enlist services of an experienced Realtor who can guide you through the process.
Some people believe that all Realtors are the same and the issue of representation doesn't affect the buyer, but in fact it is important because the most fundamental question that can be asked of any real estate professional is: Who's best interests do you represent in this transaction? Until this question is answered, you may be left with the impression that all agents who work with buyers actually represent those buyers, and that you have somebody going to bat for you in a transaction.
It is important to understand that in essence, all Realtors are working for home sellers unless a buyer chooses to be represented. The underlying logic behind it, is that agent's loyalty is with the person who pays for the services leading to the sale.
Often, buyers disclose confidential information to Realtors who then communicate this to their seller-clients, undermining the buyers' negotiating position. On the other hand, Realtors must protect seller's confidential information, they can only disclose material (not all) facts about the property, to the buyer.
To prevent this, buyers can enter into a representation agreement with an agent, ensuring their loyalty and accountability. Fees are still paid by the seller but In the event that they cannot be collected the onus of paying the Realtor shifts to the buyer.