Unfortunately there is still an attitude by some agents in real estate that once they have met someone interested in buying a piece of property that they have "automatic ownership" of representing them with their purchase! This indeed is not the case, and in a way represents a very non-professional way of conducting busniness. Purchasing a home is a very large investment and choosing the right real estate professional to represent your best interests should be one of top priority on your list. If you are serious about purchasing a home either now or in the future, you should have a working relationship with a real estate professional with whom you trust and respect their knowledge. I know I bring my clients in for a preliminary meeting before we ever start looking at homes, simply to establish a working relationship of not only what they should expect from me, but also what is expected from them if truly the goal is to find a home.
By the time we are out looking for that home, I have a client who will eventually recommend me to their family members and friends, simply because they know my professionalism and knowledge base.
It still amazes me how agents will jump in their car to show a property to some stranger who calls on the phone. Not only are they undermining themselves as professionals, they are doing a disservice to the potential buyer not to mention the owner of the home who is having "strangers" (may or may not be qualified, etc.) tromps through their home!
When acting like a professional and handling their business as such, buyers will gladly sign a contract to have a working relationship with an agent. To feel like you owe something to a realtor who simply lets you into a home with no basis for that relationship other than the appointment to get in is an old philosophy of how real estate use to be handled....and is quickly dying away.