As an agent that works with a lot of buyers I'd like to give a few ideas to you as a buyer and to any other agents reading this. When I first pick up a buyer we discuss what they want and what they need in a house. Beds, baths and all that. From there I will look up all the available houses and send them in an email so that they can sit down at home and take some time to go through each house. From there they send me an email with any number of houses to go see and we set a date and time to go see them. At this point I take over and look at the houses and when we will go see them. If its on a Saturday we will usually go see no more than 8 homes, and thats pushing it. If we go on a weekday in the evening I try not to do more than 5, unless there are some that are really close to each other. During our first outing I like to discuss their wants and needs. Most of the time they don't like to bring it up, so I do. I mention things such as, Is there space in the kitchen for a dishwasher? Or, Will the low ceilings be okay, or is that something you don't want to deal with? I'll ask any number of questions about each house so that the buyer can either keep that house as an option or to cross it off the list. That way I'm not eliminating houses for them. I just try to help them to go one way or the other. This may sound a little harsh but, I'm not going to get emotionally attached to a house the way a buyer does. As long as my buyers are happy with the house that they choose then I am happy. So, after our first trip out I have a pretty good idea of what they are really looking for in a home. Usually their wants and needs have changed, even after the first day. This is especially true when it comes to first time home buyers. Also, while we are at each house I will take notes about what they do and don't like. Once again I don't get attached to any home so they start to run together. Taking notes isn't a bad idea for the agent or the buyer.
Once I'm back in my office I'll look through the list the gave me and check out each house that we didn't visit. I can start eliminating homes that, at first, they thought they wanted to see, but after walking through a few, I will be able to cross some houses off the list for them. Always keeping either mental or written notes as to why we aren't seeing a house they liked. Typically they will agree and be thankful that I'm doing my job and saving them time.
So to go back to the question of can the buyers agent limit the number of houses they show you? On one side, you should hope that they are limiting the houses down to the ones that you will like. It will save your agent time and money as well as your time and money. The other way to look at it seems sketchy to me. If I were a buyer and an agent told me to pick any number of homes and that all I could see, I'd be pretty upset. I think that if an agent says you can only see this many homes cause they can't afford to show you more, then they need to find a part time job to pay for ga and you should probably look for a new agent. If the agent is doing their job and eliminating houses that you won't be interested, then you've found a good agent who is willing to do their job and do it right. So, if its just to save money and gas then its no good. But if they are just trying to find house they you can call home. Then I'd say trust them and let them do their job.... Hope that you can find a house soon and that everything goes well with your transaction.