Real estate agents are not employees of the firm with which they are affiliated for the most part. That means they do not receive a salary, but are dependent upon sales commissions to pay their bills.
You might think that would mean your agent is more interested in what he/she is going to be paid and getting the deal closed at any cost. I am sure there are some who think that way, but I haven't met one. Why? Quite simply, success in this field is dependent upon my reputation. If I represent a seller or buyer well, they are going to send referrals of their friends, family, acquaintances, and co-workers my way. If I don't represent them well, quite the opposite will be true.
When someone lists a house, the commission is negotiated. It is different case-by-case, market-by-market, brokerage by brokerage, as well as level of service provided. That commission is divided in half. One half of the commission goes to the listing brokerage, and the other half goes to the selling brokerage at closing of the sale. At that point, the agent on each side of the transaction is paid according to the agreement with the brokerage firm and, if associated with a team, according to the agreement with the team leader. Agents cannot receive compensation from anyone other than their broker.
So, why would a buyer be hesitant to engage the services of a buyer's agent or be loyal to a good buyer's agent? That agent's fee is coming from the seller side of the transaction unless the buyer goes direct to a house being sold by owner.
We ask our clients to be loyal to us. We use Buyer Representation Agreements and Listing Agreements. Both are legally binding contracts. Most of the time if I fail to get a Buyer Representation Agreement signed, I lose. All of my time, advice, and expenses incurred are not compensated. Can a client fire their agent? Of course! It should be in writing and for just cause.
In summation, we ask clients' family and friends as well as ours not to interfere in our relationship. In fact, in some states it is illegal to do so. Even with the best of intentions, please respect our time, education, and intentions and don't steer them in another direction. In doing so, you deprive us of our livelihood.