From what I can see, you are doing everything right.
Yes, you should definitely interview agents first to see if they are a proper fit for you. You are right that this is your money and you want someone who you feel comfortable with and trust- someone who has your back.
A buyer's agent, is definitely the way to go because as Anna said, a buyer's agent protects YOUR best interests and works only for you.
I honestly don't know what to say regarding the lack of response or rudeness. I'm kind of floored because you are right, in a commission based business, this goes against all logic. NJ is a dual agency state, i'm not sure about PA. Its possible that the listing agents don't want to deal with the buyer but at the very least, they should be able to recommend a buyer's agent out of courtesy.
I would stop contacting the listing agents, and concentrate on interviewing buyer's agents. Be persistent and although I know time is of the essence, be picky. Don't settle until you know you have found an agent who is open, honest, knowlegeable and flexible.
Sorry about this negative experience. Its hard to hear,from my perspective, because it reflects badly on the entire profession. Once you find the agent who is THE one for you, I hope your experience with RE professionals is proven to be positive.
After reading through this and many other forums, that seems to have been forgotten in the process and returning calls also seems to be common. So much emphasis is on the agent's needs instead of the client. I know there are many good agents in this industry but it does baffle me as to the number of irresponsive ones out there.
If you were going to trust someone with hundreds of thousands of your dollars, would you want to be at ease? Would you only talk to one person?
Maybe I'm old school, maybe I'm from a southern area that still believes in customer service and building client relationship. I know the great lengths I go to to help clients in my field so yes, this dissapoints me and continues to leave me scratching my head.
Do you mean it is not fair to ask a listing agent to show a property? I assumed since they'd get a commission on the sale, they would want to show a property regardless of whether I have a buyer agent or not. What am I missing?
We are scratching our heads on this.