Contrary to popular opinion, dealing directly with the listing agent might actually work in your favor. The listing agent has more to gain by getting his/her offer accepted. An argument could be made that the listing agent might be more aggressive in getting their own offer accepted. While agency relationships can vary from state to state, most listing agents have a responsibility to act fairly and honestly to both parties. As a buyer, it would be best to determine what monthly payment you can afford each month. Then, establish what price is your top number based on your down payment, property taxes, current interest rates, etc. You should definitely speak to a professional mortgage broker to find out what that number is. Good luck!