Buying a home can be stressful. the right agent can help you make informed, confident decisions helping to make the process much easier.
I often come across buyers who have bought in the past, but are still not aware on how agents get paid. Sometimes, they think that they can handle the transaction on their own because they would be loosing money by "paying for a Realtor®". First off, the buyer is not paying the Realtor's fee. The fee is already set in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). When a seller decides to list their home, they list it for a certain price or percentage to go towards the listing broker and a certain price or percentage to go to the buyer's broker. Going into a contract without representation can be risky. Buyers who do not take advantage of working with a Realtor®, are only short changing themselves because there is already a set amount in the listing to be paid to a buyer's agent.
Your agent can also help you buy a FSBO (for sale by owner) property. In my opinion, it is most important to have representation when buying a property from an unrepresented seller. The list of things that can go wrong here is too long to list on this page. Your agent will not let you purchase a home that might lead you into financial ruin. Trust your agent, they are required to be honest and tell you about things you might not be aware of, Sellers are not.
I have personally witnessed buyers who have overpaid for their property by buying from an un-represented seller and are not able to sell for less than they owe, and buyers who have bought a home without a home inspection or home warranty and had several major appliances go out in the first 5 months of home ownership. There are all kinds of things that can go wrong in a home sale. In a competitive market, your agent needs to be knowledgable and available.
I always offer a list of reliable lenders, home inspectors, and home warranty companies to buyers as well as a list of contractors / vendors for all moving / housing needs.
Communication is key and if you can't seem to get in contact with your agent, you might miss out on the home you fell in love with. It is important to have an open, honest and reliable relationship with your agent. When you find that house you have to see, your agent should be ready to go, ready to answer your questions or find the answers to your questions, get you in the door and ready to make an informed and confident offer.