Actually, I do have to correct one misconception. Buyers DO pay the commission. It's built into the price you will be paying for the home. No, you don't have to explicitly write a commission check to anyone, but it's in the price, and you are paying it.
Therefore, you should expect a lot from your buyer's agent. Anyone can drive you around and show you properties and be polite. But you really want an agent who is going to bring some value to the transaction. Like helping to formulate a strategy to enable you to pay as little for the property as possible. You definitely do not want a "cheerleader" as a buyer's agent. By cheerleader I mean an agent who has a vested interest in selling you a home in one particular area and extolls it virtues while neglecting to expose its flaws. You want impartial, hard-nosed data that will help you make a good decision. A buyer's agent should not be in the business of "selling" you anything at all. A buyer's agent should be a trusted counsellor. And a buyer's agent will sometimes have to be a wet blanket. I've had buyers get very excited about properties whose flaws were self-evident. In that case it's my job to make sure they understand the full negative implications of the purchase.
So I would interview several buyer's agents as if you were going to be paying them thousands of dollars for their services. Because you are.
Here is a link to the "top voices" in New Jersey. Do not limit yourself to just Hoboken. To avoid dual agency, it is often best to select a buyer's agent who is NOT from the town in which you wish to purchase.
Remember too that as the buyer, you will enjoy the benefits of working with an agent - and there are many - at no cost, as the commission is paid most usually by the seller.
Best of luck to you Rob!
You can also look at the "Top Voices" link up above and put in Hoboken's zip code: 07030. Or go to activerain.com and look for the top agent in Hoboken. Or google "best Hoboken real estate agent" and see what you get. Keep in mind that an agent who lives in Hoboken and has lived there for a number of years, owns property in Hoboken, has bought and sold multiple properties in Hoboken, works in Hoboken, specializes in sales, follows the Hoboken real estate market, writes about the Hoboken real estate market, and specializes in the Hoboken market is most likely going to be able to help you better than one who has not done all those things.
Robert DeRuggiero Realtors
201 993 9500
Recommendations are good, as are sources like the Real Estate Buyer Agency Council of the National Association of REALTORS http://(www.rebac.net) and the Council of Residential Specialists http://(www.crs.com). Members of these organizations have undertaken additional training above and beyond the licensing requirements of their States and have a proven track record of real estate sales. Both of these organizations allow you to search for members located in the area of your choice.
If you are looking to purchase in Hudson County, contact me to help you. If you are moving somewhere else, I'll be happy to find you a good agent somewhere else. I network with some of the best agents in the country. No charge or obligation.
Joan Prout, MBA
RE/MAX Villa REALTORS
Jersey City, NJ