A listing broker would be violating state law if they did not present all offers to their seller client. If a brokers own interest comes before their clients they are breaching their fiduciary.
I am a Realtor working in the Long Island Area. I would reccomend that you find an agent that not only is familiar with how Buyer representation works but also has either a CBR (Certified Buyer Representative) or ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) designation. What this means is that the agent is trained to work with buyers in this capacity. Part of the problem with buyer representation is that people are misinformed as to how it works, where the commission comes from,etc.. I have been representing Buyer's since I got my CBR designation two years ago, and in fact do not like to work with buyers in any other capacity other than that. I feel that it is only fair that buyers are represented in a transaction (just like sellers are.) The commission always comes out of the proceeds of the sale, which means that the buyer pays for it anyway since they are coming to the table with the money, and since both agents get paid at the closing table I think it would be in your best interest to have someone working for you and not merely with you. When an agent works WITH you they are SELLING you (no matter how good the rapport may be, because thier fiducuary duties are to the seller), when an agent works FOR you they are helping you make an informed, educated purchase. Also, if you go out with an agent more that a few times and they give you information that would be privy to a buyer client and they are not working FOR you as your Buyer Agent, I have one suggestion....get a new agent because they are breaking an ethics code that we all take when we become Realtors. What can I say, there are those with intergrity and those without.
yes, if you are looking to buy in the not to distant future, I recommend you do the following find an agent you are comfortable with, this can be done in more then one way, interview 2 or 3 agents, take a reference from someone who has had a good experience with an agent, or find the agent by shopping either over the phone or open houses.
Once you have this agent you should strongly consider having that agent represent you as a buyers agent, they should spell out specifically what this means to you in a contract, services that should be provide would include a market information on pricing on any home you buy before you make an offer, recommended inspections, contract and negotiation services as well as how they search for a home for you, in exchange most buyers agents will ask you for loyality, meaning that when you buy you will buy from them.
The true advantage of this agency agreement is that you get an agent who works for you, they will try to find the hard to find homes, and will show you any and all homes for sale with no concern that you will buy a home from another realtor, including for sale by owners, and you will also be able to make informed decesions.
In most cases sellers will offer commsions to buyers agents so in most circumstances these services do not cost you anymore then if you were unrepresented.
Definitely, By using an exclusive buyer's agent/broker you will be shown homes that suit your needs and wants not just a selling agent's own listings or their company's.There is (usually) no added cost to be represented by a buyer broker, and you might actually save money, so why not?