Real estate brokers are given licenses by the state to broker real estate, not to provide counsel and advice. That we do so as part of our jobs is one thing, that we make that the primary focus of our practice is another.
As a Realtor who works with many buyers in the Richmond area, I look at myself as a consultant to the buyer and not as a salesman for the seller. I think that all Realtors who are good Buyer Agents will also do that! As a Buyer Agent I am not sure how you can split out the process into separate tasks and come up with a price list, so to speak, for each task! Many of the "tasks" that a good Buyer Agent will do for their buyer clients will be dependent upon the buyer and their situation! One buyer may be a first time homebuyer with lots of questions and may need a lot of guidance and may be looking for a home that is hard to find, while another buyer may have bought several and may be more familiar with the homebuying process. Another buyer could be an investor who is looking for the deal and the type of services that they need may be totally different from someone who is buying a home to live in, or a relocation buyer trying to get to know the areas in Richmond before making a commitment to a home! I think that most Buyer Agents do not think of themselves as "salesmen for the seller" and do not act in ways that would make most homebuyers think that they are "salesmen for the seller". In the end, I think the Buyer Agents I know put their buyer clients needs first and the fact that the commission is coming from the sellers proceeds at closing makes no difference in the quality of service and advice that are given to the buyer clients!
Good luck to you in your househunting!
I feel that my job is to take care of my client and find them a home that is truly their 'dream home' whether it be for the next year or 30 years. Homes are a major investment and the decision is not to be taken lightly. I spend as much time as I can to learn what my Buyer client is looking for and then do everything I can to find it. I have had client's in 'special' situations that have needed a year to find a their home and I have stuck with them. Whether it is a $100,000 home or a $1,000,000 home......the Buyers should be treated equally!!
We ask a lot of questions to determine if the buyer is preapproved for a loan, what his long-term and short-term goals are, his requirements and preferences. I think these are critical steps before we even show the first property. I "show" properties by pulling up information online, and together, the buyer and I discuss the pros and cons of each. Doing this, I get a much better sense of what appeals to the buyer and what he can afford; and he, in turn has a better understanding of the market.
And once that need is fulfilled, i.e., the buyer completes the purchase, the relationship continues. As a realtor, I invest in this relationship, I nurture it (by keeping in touch from time to time, answering questions and providing resources as needed). The payoff is in referrals received.
Good service is: service before, during and after the sale.