As you've likely gotten the impression here, we don't think a first time buyer should mess with an auction. Your brother has some good ideas, but unless they are active buying a home in this market, let me give you some advice. Find a great local Realtor to work with.
Learning all you need to learn to find the perfect house, make the right decisions regarding offering strategies, looking out for resale issues, learning everything there is to know about financing, inspections, escrow and title issues is too much for you to do on your own.
I don't know your understanding of what an agent/broker does for the buyer, but let me tell you, it's a lot more than a taxi driver and door opener.
As a first time buyer, a smart agent will see you as a buyer now, a referral source soon and a future seller and buyer. Your transaction represents multiples for a great agent who takes good care of you and helps you get a great deal on a home you'll love.
My consistent advice is to find a great agent, work with them, listen to them and learn you can trust them. Not all agents are great or trustworthy; I wish it were the case. So rather than put your energies into esoteric buying strategies find a great local agent and work with them to obtain your goals.