I subscribe to a Foreclosure service and also use an agent. The service I use allows you to see preforeclosures, foreclosures, court house auctions, bankruptcies, tax lien and FSBO properties that are not necessarily on the market and therefore not on the MLS. So sometimes I am looking at a house and check it out before the agent knows the house is coming up. I think that is an advantage. These services also tie in outside information, such as tax info. It also allows you to cross-validate the information I am receiving. You can almost always find out the tax information on line. If the sq ft on the tax record doesn't match the listing, ask why. I am not against using an agent, but the MLS is not all the information. As a buyer I would prefer an agent who subscribes to other services to their advantage and hopefully mine. So look at free sites like Zillow, Yahoo, Trulia, Realtor.com and your local County Assessor site, Trustee sites for foreclosure properties are very useful as well and I composed my list of Trustee site for the majority of properties in my area from a foreclosure service. And lastly, make sure the agent you are working with has done lots of deals with the bank. Work with agents that banks are giving a majority of their listings too (REO agents) if you want a bank owned property. For me, the paid service and the free services are an added benefit in working with an agent to find a property or working alone if it is not listed. BTW I started off at $40/month and have negotiated down to $24/month when I went to cancel and move to another service.