Frequently, many first time home buyers are unaware that a real estate agent can serve different roles. In short, the first thing a buyer should do when planning to purchase real estate is to select a buyer's agent to work with. The reason? Buyer's agents are absolutely free to the buyer, as the buyer's agent gets paid through splitting the commission with the listing agent. That is, if you were to purchase the real estate unrepresented, or if the listing agent were serving as a disclosed dual agent, the listing agent would most likely be receiving the entire commission himself or herself.
As such, it is in the buyer’s great interest to work with a buyer's agent as they get the benefit of professional representation both while locating as well as while consummating the transaction. If you are interested in a property and speak to the listing agent, don't expect him/her to ask why you aren't working with a buyer's agent (remember they get more money if you are unrepresented). An additional benefit of buyer agency is that when the buyer eventually decides to sale the property they purchased, they already have an established relationship with an agent (now listing) who is informed of the history and characteristics of the subject property.