Unless you have professional real estate experience, you will want to have a professional Realtor representing you.  A Realtor that represents you will educate you on the process, educate you on the pricing of homes in your market, negotiate for you, and in general, fight for your interests and protect you.  They are your ally in the real estate world.  Once you have a Realtor that you want to work with, you will sign a contract with them.  This contract is a two way street and outlines how you will work together, what is expected, and how the Realtor/agent will get paid.  In Minnesota, Buyer's Agents/Realtors are most commonly paid a commission by the sellers and their real estate brokerage.  Even if your Realtor's brokerage has a small brokerage commission fee, it's still a great deal to have your own agent.