The buyer agency agreement and procuring cause are actually only loosely related. One of the best definitions I've seen for procuring cause is "the uninterrupted series of causal events which results in the successful transaction." (http://www.ired.com/news/2000/0008/moneysecret.htm
Without getting into a long discussion filled with mumbo-jumbo about agency relationships, an agent is not entitled to a *commission* unless that agent was the procuring cause of the transaction. Simply sending you MLS listings probably would not qualify as procuring cause. The agent would probably have to exert a little more effort on your behalf to qualify as the procuring cause. An agent who is the procuring cause of the transaction and has the cooperative broker agreements in place will likely earn the commission whether there is a buyer agency agreement or not.
So, why would you sign a Buyer Agency Agreement? Because it is an agreement between you and the real estate licensee that the licensee is accountable to you for the fiduciary responsibilities of obedience, loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality, accounting, and reasonable care. I like to include a value proposition to my clients that spells out exactly what services they will receive from me. It is my interpretation of reasonable care. In return the agent will be paid a *fee*, usually which is paid completely or partially in form of a commission by a cooperating brokers agreement with the listing broker.
Without a buyer agency agreement, there is no guarantee that your agent will deliver on those fiduciary duties and little recourse if he doesn't. Many believe that the buyer agency agreement protects the agent. It, in fact, protects the consumer more than the agent. The agent that is the procuring cause and has a valid co-op broker agreement with the listing agent will get paid a commission whether you have the agreement or not. You have no guarantee that the agent is working in your best interest if you don't have one.
So, find someone you think will do a good job for you, have him explain the buyer agency agreement so you thoroughly understand it, negotiate the terms, and then sign it. It is in *YOUR* best interest.
Clear as mud, right?
I really hope that helps. I wish you the best of luck.
RE/Max Professional Realty, Inc.
Exton, PA 19341
Office: (610) 363-8444