You do not pay commission as a buyer!
Whether you are a first timer or not, the real estate agent is FREE to you!
Why? Because the Seller is responsible for paying the commission. This is very important when you only have limited funds to make the 5% down payment that you require, as well as your various closing costs such as legal fees, home inspections, etc. So call a Realtor® - someone you feel you can trust - and arrange an interview. If you are not happy with what this person can provide to you, call another. You are not obligated to someone just because you meet him or her once.
It is important to have a Realtor® who works on your behalf for so many reasons. A Realtor® can ensure that you know the value of the home - no sense over paying! Realtors® have access to the prices of the listings in the area that have sold, and will prepare a current market analysis of the value of the home to ensure you get a great buy on the home that you want.
Professional Realtors® also negotiate offers on your behalf. It's important to have an impartial third party doing your negotiating - as professionals, Realtors® work to get you the very best deal and can read the other party to ensure that the offer is negotiated in your best interest. Again, talk to your Realtor® about what they can do for you, and their negotiating history.
It's important to hire a top-notch negotiator when you are making what may be the largest investment of your life!