Besides working on deals, I try to spend at least an hour or two per day devouring any reading material that I can about anything real-estate related. I want to know what other investors are doing. I want to know what agents, mortgage brokers, RE attorneys, bankers, and any other RE professionals are doing. I'm scouring every marketing or sales related data that I can find, and the list goes on.
I opted for "other" when I signed up, because Trulia didn't have a selection specifically for investor. Later, Trulia added "buyer and seller" and appended "just looking" to "other", and I didn't feel the need to change the tag. Besides, I trust that others will be able to discern--as you did--that I know what I'm talking about, and that I'm actively shopping.
In any case, I don't view the situation as an either-or one. Instead, I view it as a both-and one: I like to structure my transactions to have the maximum amount of exposure. Stated another way, I do all of the above--not necessarily all at the same time. Whether or not I work with a flat-fee listing service or full-service broker, I'll provide him/her/them an exclusions list if I already have a buyers list and/or other self-placed advertisement (that's specially coded so that I may track the buyers' information source) in place.
The reason I do things this way is not to "save a buck"; I view co-broke, referral, and other fees simply as some of the costs for doing business. Instead, I do things this way for 2 reasons: 1) to maintain a certain level of consistency (since I invest in multiple markets, and since agents/buyers in different areas are used to various local customs), and 2) to maintain and further develop relationships that I already have. After all, sometimes a broker on one deal might become a co-sponsor or one of the investors--as well as the broker--on another deal. I'm perfectly fine with this, and I make sure that we'd disclose all of this (via the PPM) to any potential participants for that deal.
When you list your house for sale you definitely want a listing agent (his agency) to share the commission with with the co-operating buyer's agent (his firm,agency).
in this market you want as many professioal realtors as possible show your house in order to sell it in a timely manner.