"Real estate agents do not generally represent the buyer," says Florida real-estate attorney Barry Ansbacher. "But buyers think they do."
When calling in response to a listing broker's advertisement or showing up at an open house, be clear on one thing: This person is employed by the seller of the home. That seller may be a private person or a corporate developer—and they are paying the agent's commission. "My clients will say 'I had a broker,'" Ansbacher says, "but the broker was not representing their interests."
If you want to be sure you've got a pro looking out for you, enlist a buyer's broker. This type of agent signs on to work exclusively for you in whatever deal you may strike, and can help you through the buying process, from search to offer to contract to closing.