Once you find a agent you trust to help you find a home, sign a Buyer-Broker Agreement with them. The reason you want to have this employment contract with your agent is because, without it, most agents will NOT show you all of the properties on the market that you could buy. They won’t show you “For-Sale-By-Owner” properties, off-market properties or new homes that are not cooperating with brokers because they won’t get paid.
Yes, under a Buyer-Broker Agreement if the seller doesn’t pay a commission then you are obligated to pay it. So why would you sign such an agreement? First, most of the time the seller will pay your agent’s commission so their services are actually free to you. Second, if the agent you’re working with is good, they will save you much more than 2.5–3% you might have to pay through their world-class negotiating skills, ability to write a competitive contract, and skill at bringing a transaction to a successful closing. A good agent can easily explain the benefits to the buyer of signing such an agreement.