When I bought my first home I started with a normal Realtor who accepted listings. After looking at a few I was told that I must sign a six month contract in order to continue looking. I asked why. The response was it is standard practice. That is not true, and I did not sign the contract. Why should I be locked in to working with someone for six months? They can perform poorly and I cannot leave. Also they can sell you one of their listings in which case they would have a conflict of interest. At that moment I looked for and found a NAEBA Realtor. Since they do not take listings their is no conflict of interest. Also my particular agent did not make me sign a long term contract which was a relief.
I bought my first home from this agent and later became an agent with his firm. That is believing! I enjoy working with first time home buyer's as these clients tend to be the most rewarding. Foreclosures and short sales also offer an interesting challenge as they have unique opportunities and pitfalls.