Ask that question before signing up, and that might protect you from that Sticky Wicket.
Your prospective agent should make available and tell you about all properties that match your criteria. Anything less may be unethical. There should not be any personalized recommendations. Maybe you are looking at the 'featured listings' part that would contain the listings that his/her office has listed but you should be able to access all of the listings.Your agent should have access to all of the properties listed by all brokers in your area. Ask your agent what multiple listing services they are a member of and ask them to show you what areas that includes. Maybe it's different in NY, but I am, for instance, a member of a few services and I will see every listing that is put in there by all the surrounding offices. I will not only show those, but look for for sale by owners in these areas. You should be the one limited and sorting out what you want to see, not them. One thing to consider is that each listing may be offering a different payment to the buyers agent. Discuss this openly. If you are worried that your agent may only be showing you properties that offer a better commission, then you definately have both trust and disclosure issues. Be frank with the agent you talk to ...this is a very important purchase and you shouldn't side step around issues. Ask them where their source of listings comes from, what listings they may not have access to and whether or not they will show you every listing (including for sale by owners) irregardless of the compensation. Then discuss how you both plan on ensuring that the agent will be paid. If you or the agent finds a fsbo, after months of looking, will you agree to make sure that the agent is paid (either by you or the seller) and represents you? Discuss ahead of time how you both will handle a commission issue if the commission being offered to the buyers agent is less than the amount that you both agree the agent should get paid. Who will pay the difference? You should be given the possibility of seeing every single house that is on every type of market in your area as long as it fits your criteria. Be up front with your agent, ask a lot of questions and tackle the 'what ifs' before you get going. You wouldn't want to miss out on a great home just because you didn't know it was there. Providing the agent can show you everything, it is best to work with one. If the agent knows that they will get paid, they are not going to feel the pressure of selling you a house fast. I've helped clients get out of transactions (within the guidelines of a contractd) where they have changed their mind about the home..even after investing a lot of time into the deal because i knew that I would sell them something else and I'd rather have a happier client a month later than get paid selling them a house that they didn't like. Unhappy clients don't give referrals. Pick your agent, beat them up with questions and find yourself a great home.
The realtor/agent provides services which you agree to pay for, they work for you once you commit to them.
Do not agree to a working relationship with anyone until you are sure they understand what you want, what is expected (from you & them), and remember you're hiring a service not making friends (though that may happen)
Look around the Q&A, there are plenty of agents here fishing for leads so things seem to be in favor of a qualified paying buyer. Shop around.............Time is on your side. Dunes
As Hayward said, I also have a "Satisfaction Guarantee" clause in my Buyer agency contracts. It allows the Buyer (and me, if I so choose) to terminate the Buyer Agency with notice to the other party.
It is not beneficial to either you or the Realtor to continue a working relationship if you don't feel it is a good fit.
Now, it is always extremely important to have a continuous dialogue. Before we even look at properties, I sit down with my Buyers, they prepare a list of what type of properties they are looking for, we verify their pre-approval price range- and once we start looking we constantly re-evaluate the features that they want/need.
That way we can narrow it down to help them find their perfect fit.
Be honest with your agent of what your expectations are, you have to work as a Team.
All the Best to you!
Happy house hunting.