It so happened that me and a couple of buddies were out on the streets hunting for a house, stubbornly determined to make it on our own and NOT take the help of a broker when a question arose in my mind. It was as simple as this:
"Must the broker pay you or you the broker for getting you a house"
The larger question here is whether the broker is selling you the house, or is he selling you to the house owner.
Lets consider the former where the broker is selling you the house in which case you obviously owe him his fees for finding you a house.
But how about when you look it from the point of view of him selling the house to you on behalf of the owner. You're literally doing him a favour by taking up the agreement of living in the house! If nothing, he should be paying you for generating business for him!!
I'm sure some economist has figured out a solution for this question. Do let me know if you know about it.
Note: Ah well, in the non-hypothetical world the broker would probably take a cut from both you AND the house owner as he is really only selling "information" to both the parties and hence deserves his dues. Smart chaps they always are!!