Most Realtors are highly trained professionals who do everything from Scheduling, Chauffeuring, Negotiating, Sales, Contracts, Advising and sometimes Construction. A knowledge of Finance, Contract Law, Real Estate Law, Diplomacy, and even Construction are important to be successful in the business.
ACCESS - When you find a property online that you are interested in most of the time you will have to have a licensed Realtor go with you to gain access and set the appointment.
In an area generally one agent can show you the houses that other companies have listed online. Remember the person with the sign in the yard works for the Seller. A buyer's agent works for you.
INFORMATION - Your realtor should know the area, where foundations are bad, where schools are good, shopping, and other area guidance. They should also have the experience to tell you if the house has a major flaw you should know about.
NEGOTIATIONS - There is a LOT of psychology that goes into the process. The seller's agent's duty is to sell it for the highest price and the buyer's agent's duty is to get it for their client at a good price with the amenities you want. Many For Sale By Owner's don't know that the title insurance, survey, home warranty, seller concessions to help buyer with closing costs, repairs, remodeling allowances are ALL NEGOTIABLE. We have even negotiated furniture, pottery and pets!!!
FINANCING - It is always a good idea to see a lender first and get a letter of pre approval before you even start looking. That way you will know your budget. A good Realtor can recommend lenders and, if you allow, will make sure you are getting a good deal on your mortgage.
The mortgage companies will also interact with your realtor to gain access for the surveyor, appraiser and any inspections.
ADVICE - Most successful Realtors own multiple properties and have overseen many other transactions. I will tell my clients whether I would buy the house or not. Generally, unless you are an experienced contractor, if I wouldn't buy it - you probably shouldn't either. But you will go into it with your eyes open.
Your Realtor can also be your "go to" person for utility information, questions about the mortgage process, concerns, moving ideas, remodeling recommendations, and a host of other questions and concerns you WILL have during the process.
I have only scratched the surface of what Realtors do and know this....they do NOT get Paid for showing houses. They ONLY get paid when you find the one you want and make it to closing and their commission comes out of the seller's proceeds. So if someone takes their time to show you a few houses....stick with them if at all possible. But it is okay to change if you find that don't trust them or their expertise.