First, as far as you having your home under contract, congratulations. You say "believe it or not in this market," but you deserve credit for that as there are still a lot of homes selling in this market, but there are just too many homes compared to the numbers of buyers. Your home going under contract shows that you have a home where the condition and price of the home is a good value compared to the others on the market.
Now regarding the Exclusive Buyers Agent you will probably hear as many opinions as there are Realtors. You will see companies or agents that will not do listings. They may get certified as an Exclusive Buyers Agent or Agency. The thinking is that if they only represent buyers and never sellers, they can represent the buyer better. Does this really make this form of representing buyers better?
Personally, I believe the determining factor should be the agent or Realtor as an individual. Whether exlcusive buyer agency or not there are great agents, good agents, and not so good agents, the secret is finding the right fit for you. I do believe that listing homes is a useful background to actually selling homes, and I believe without listing homes it is hard to learn the view of the sellers and where they are willing to make concessions or what they really want. For example, by working with sellers a few years ago very few would offer seller financing, now I have several that are willing to do so. The way I learned this is by representing sellers. Now when I represent buyers, I will often under certain circumstances try to get seller financing. Would the agent that only represents buyers know this?
With all this said, I do not believe that buyers should ever buy a home directly from the listing agent. The listing agents job is to sell this particular home. Are they going to tell you that there is a home with the same floor plan, in better condition and with a lower price a couple of streets over? Who do they truly represent? Will they fight to get you the best price and terms?
I also do not recommend that buyers purchase a new construction home directly from the salesperson in a new subdivisions model home. After all the salespersons job is to make their employer (the builder) the most money. An example why this is so will help. A builder may give their salesperson $50,000 to negotiate with for a $400,000 home. A buyer comes into the model home center and the salesperson shows the home and the buyer likes it. They ask the price and the salesperson says the price is $400,000. One buyer may say, I will take it, another may say can you do better and they may offer $3,000 or $5,000 off the price or toward upgrades or toward closing costs. They may then take it or try to negotiate it down further. Rarely, if ever will they ever get the $50,000 off the price. Even though the salesperson has room to negotiate, if they just took the $50,000 off for every buyer that walks in, the salesperson would likely be out of a job quickly. After all the salespersons job is to make the builder the most money. And the buyer is likely only to buy one home. Now another buyer comes in with a Realtor. If the Realtor is good they will have researched the subdivision and know that the salesperson has $50,000 to negotiate with. They also have talked to their buyer to find out what is important to them, such as lower price, all closing costs paid, 100% financing etc. They then work to get all of the $50,000 to the buyer. Why would the builder be willing to do this? Because this Realtor or their office, will likely be selling many of this builders homes over the year. The builder then is willing to take less profit since they will likely sell many homes through the Realtors. We bring buyers to builders that give our buyers the best deal.
Now there is one thing that I think buyers should think about signing and that is an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement. The reason is that you likely want your Realtor to find you the best home at the best price. You want the Realtor to have some loyalty to you. A Realtor can do their job best if you are loyal to them. The Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement builds this two-way loyalty, as it basically says that if you buy a home in the area, you will buy it through this Realtor. If you do sign an agreement make sure there is an easy exit agreement where if you do not like the Realtor, or they do not do their job, you can cancel at no cost. This agreement makes for a much more open Realtor and buyer working relationship. The following example will show why.
Buyer A will not sign a Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement, while Buyer B does. Both Buyers are looking at the same style and price of homes. The Realtor knows the statistic that there is a 1 in 10 chance that buyer A will buy a home from this Realtor. Statistics also say that there is a 6 in 10 chance of selling a home to Buyer B. Why? Buyer A is free to buy from anyone whereas Buyer B will buy from this Realtor