When I first explore the idea of buying a house, I have visited mostly new home community, such as KB Home and Plute, and have no notion of getting an agent for myself. A big part of it is because new home builder does not deal with agent at all thus, there is no reason to look for one. From the time I started looking at existing home, this question surface again, whether I should look for a buyer's agent.
For those who has just started out, there is a different between a seller's agent and buyer's agent. As a buyer you have two options as listed below:
1. Look for a buyer's agent that would represent you throughout the process of purchasing a home
2. Have the seller's agent to represent you as well throughout the process of purchasing a home, where the agent is a dual agent
After thinking for a while, I still believe it is of greater benefit to someone buying a house to look for a buyer's agent to represent you. Here are reasons to support my choice:
1. As a seller's agent, their first priority is to look after the interest of the seller, that is to sell the house at the highest price possible. They might approach you to represent you as well (happens a lot at open houses I visited), no matter how friendly they are, the priority to look after the seller's interests will not change at all. Trust might be an issue in this case since you don't know whether information given to you is complete.
2. As a buyer's agent their main purpose is to look after the interest of the buyer. They have insider information about the current situation with the sale of the house which can be a benefit when you are putting in an offer, as to how much to offer, what sort of contigency to put down in the offer and etc. They can also advise you based on the professional experience what is a fair price of the house, what to look for when visiting an open house. They can help you filter out open houses based on your criteria so there is no need to go to every one of those open houses in the location you plan to buy.
Everyone has their own opinion on this topic. Thus, you would need to evaluate your situation and decide which option is best for you.