1. Represent you and your best interests, not the sellers
2. Help you create a plan based on your wants and needs to find you the perfect home
3. Negotiate the best price possible since they aren't working for the seller
4. Using the criteria you provide, they search all possible listings and properties
5. With their experience they can point out the strengths and weaknesses of each property
6. Give you the truth about a properties value, not its perceived value in the eyes of the seller or listing agent
7. Help guide you through home inspections, sewer scopes and repair negotiations â€¢ Submit offers promptly and professionally
8. Provide honest, complete financial information about the neighborhood & how this can affect your future
9. Respond honestly and accurately to your questions
10. Refer you to a lender that specializes in first time home buyers to find the most favorable loan for your particular situation
11. Review HUD-1 settlement statement for accuracy
12. Most importantly they keep your personal information private from the seller and other agents, something listing agents are obligated NOT TO DO!
This question can only be answered by an agent and buyer taking time to meet up-front so that the agent can completely understand buyer needs and wants and to completely explain how B/A works and the services that the agent is able to offer.
In short, an agent must be willing to stick with the buyer throughout the entire process and to help him/her achieve their buying goals. If that agent at the ends has a satisfied and referable client, then that would be a positive indicator of a "good buyer agent" relationship.
Be compassionate. If you aren't the type of person that can truly feel what your buyers are feeling, then you might want to stick to the listing side. Buyers - most especially first-time buyers - are very emotional. This is a very daunting task they have undertaken and usually with little to no knowledge about the process.
I have heard it said that, "buyers are liars". When I first became an agent and heard that phrase, I wondered what they meant. Then someone explained it to me. Personally, I do not subscribe to that way of thinking. Very often buyers will start out with what they think they want and end up with something totally opposite. It isn't because they lied. It is because they finally started the process and are realizing the positives and negatives of their first choice.
If you are a good buyer's agent, you will spend as much time as you can with your buyers - especially initially - to try to get a real feel for what they like and their personalities and most importantly what they are going to need in the future and how their current decision is going to affect the outcome.
I always tell my buyers that I know it's uncomfortable to talk to a perfect stranger about such personal things, but the more I know the better I can help them.