Hello Seabee â€“ Great Question!
After much consideration, and reading the answers provided, I am thinking that the question really is "Which Listing Agent provides the best value?"
Approximately 80 - 90% of buyers (depending on the source of the statistics) begin their search for a home on the internet. As a home buyer, I am sure you are looking online for homes and see some homes that are presented well with great pictures, virtual tours and descriptions that mean something to a buyer. Those are the agents that are putting positive energy into and making great investments in terms of time, knowledge and funds in getting homes sold.
If you are selling, note that each agent charges according to their particular philosophy and abilities to get a home SOLD. You want an agent that will help you to prosper and meet your goals.
Be aware that, for the most part, commissions (traditionally paid by the seller) are usually split between the listing agent and the selling (buyer's) agent. Offering a better commission to the co-operating selling agent can be enticing to them to show your home more often. Commissions charged is part of the mix of getting a home SOLD.
As a buyer, you may think that contacting a listing agent is the best option, thinking that there will be a discount if you go this route. This is typically not the case. You want a buyer's agent that will listen to the goals that you have in buying a home and help you to prosper by considering all options. You want someone who will advocate for you and negotiate keenly on your behalf. Look for someone who will be looking out for you and you alone.