As far I'm concerned they are scams. My husband and I gave some guy 300.00 to start finding a home for us when we bought our first home. I was not a realtor yet and was not educated about buying a home. We absolutely got scammed. If you are going to buy a home, I can't stress enough the fact that you need a realtor on your side. As a buyer your realtor is paid by the seller because the listing agent shares his or her commission with the buyers agent. So as a buyer you get a professioal on your side to guide you through the ropes of buying a home at no cost to you. A win win!!