I know that this question was posted several months ago, but now there is a tremendous amount of buyer activity going on and I thought it would be pertinent to offer some good advice. The best answer to your question is to work with an agent that is going to be your buyer's representative. No . . . this will NOT cost you money, you do not have to pay them a fee, and yes, the seller will be paying the broker the commission. The reason I say this is because it is unethical and illegal for a listing agent or any agent other than a buyer's representative to advise and consult you on the price you should offer on a particular home. The reason for this is that all real estate agents other than an agent that is working for you in the capacity of a buyers agent HAS to work for the best interest of the seller and therefore get the SELLER the best price. So, if you saw a house and it was listed for $1.3M, the listing agent or any other real estate agent other than YOUR buyer's reprsentative would have to advise you to put the best offer you can on that house.
I happen to be a real estate attorney and I love working as a buyer's agent when I represent buyers because many agents cannot offer the same advice and consultation that I can, and I know better than most agents how important it is to diligently and aggressively represent a buyer. In fact, we have saved our clients a lot of money on their purchases, researched and presented to our buyers comps of recently sold homes in the area, etc. to show the buyer in black and white how we come up with a value. This level of service can only come to you via a buyers representative. Furthermore, if you currently live in NYC, wouldnt it be a great thing to have an agent work for you like your very own personal attorney in finding, researching homes and advising and consulting you on the best price to bid on that home? If so and you haven't found a home yet, then give me a call or email me. My information is on my profile.