There are lots of different places where you can search for homes online. There are sites that are just for the purpose of showing you all of the real estate listings from all of the different agents working in the area and then there are those for just one agent. If you're looking for a home and you're click on a listing on a real estate agent's site then you might be directed to a "Be My Guest" page. You have a couple of different options in this situation.
This page will ask you for a bit of information, like your name, your email address and your phone number, and is meant to show the real estate agent who is looking at their listings. The theory is that there are lots of people who like to browse through homes for the fun of it on the weekend and then there are those that are really interested in buying. If you're in the former group then you will likely not go to the trouble of filling out this kind of form to see the listing on a particular home.
If you are a serious buyer then you might want to give this real estate agent your information. Remember that agents are paid on commission by the sellers. So, it will cost you nothing to have an expert with you as you search for the perfect listing or for a home. There are likely hundreds of listings out there and having an agent on your side could mean the difference of weeks of weeding through all of the different possibilities. If you're a busy person who has a practice or working fulltime then there is no reason why you wouldn't want to have an agent on your side.
When you fill out this "Be My Guest" form the agent might contact you to see if you have any questions about the listing and if you want to set up a showing to see the home in person. If you're someone who would rather contact the agent when you're interested than have them check up on you then you might be able to indicate that on the form. Remember that creating a relationship with one agent when you're looking for a home, does not mean that you are obligated to buy one of their personal listings. It just means that you have someone who will help to get you in the right home for a good price. This is something every homebuyer wants.
Sponsorship donated by: California bar coach, S. Zikman. Thanks Steve!