I recently read "Out of State: A Practical Guide to Long-Distance Real Estate Investing." It's an excellent book. The author talks about hooking up with a good real estate agent in the market you're interested in but agents typically represent sellers and as such their interests are not aligned with those of a buyer, particularly an out of state buyer who is interested in renting. I've heard of buyer's agents and was wondering whether people use them for long-distance investing and if so, what has been people's experience?
There is a trade off...Using a buyers agent can be a benefit (especially for a newer investor) because they have their own representative in the game. The agent may bring you deals, speak on your behalf, and offer guidance.
Not using a buyers agent and going directly to the listing agent is also a strategy. Your are getting closer to the "horses mouth" aka seller, and potentially incentivize the deal because the listing agent gets a double commission. Just realize if investing out of state you may need to pick up the due diligence a bit when using this method. Best of luck!