I love working with buyers. I love that this is such an exciting time for them and that I can help them make their dream a reality. Also, let's be real, I love looking at properties. I am doing it almost always. So, it's a win win.
What isn't a win? When a buyer isn't aware of the current market and today that market is a seller's market. This means there isn't enough inventory for home buyers and great homes that are priced right are going within days sometimes hours of hitting the market. If you are perspective home buyer, even if you "aren't looking seriously", find an agent you like and trust. They can help you organize the process and proactively search for homes that are "coming soon". A good agent will respect your timeline, give you space, and understand your communication-style (not hound you). If the perfect home suddenly lands at your feet, you will have quite an advantage! Especially walking into a crowded open house knowing you have a capable professional in your corner, ready to make a smart and strong offer, when the time is right.
Do not depend on the seller's agent to have your best interest in mind. And do not go frantically looking for an agent last minute. Start looking for a realtor online. You should know pretty quickly if you want to work with someone. We really aren't scummy salespeople, I promise, and there is no obligation to have an agent represent you as a buyer. You should never be asked to pay them a fee, especially upfront. Lets meet for a coffee or tea on me. When you're ready!