Shopping for a home before getting preapproved for a mortgage is the equivalent of walking into a store without a wallet. No preapproval, no accepted offer! You have to have a preapproval and it must be a real preapproval where the lender has verified not just your credit, but bank statements, tax returns.
Typically the services of a Buyer's Agent is FREE to the Buyer. A Buyer's agents gets paid from an already established commission by the Seller.
This is highly dependent on the skill of the agent. The buyer's agent can help select the right property for your needs, provide you with accurate comparable properties, as well as assist in the negotiation process. While it may sound simple, when the real circumstances hit experience and knowledge pay off. Will your offer likely be accepted? A home was sold 8 months ago in the area, is it a reasonable comp? How much earnest money should be put down? What is a cure period? Many questions may arise during the purchase of a home and a good agent will provide you with the best answers to help you make the right decisions.