Is it okay to use multiple realtors? If not how best to decide?
I've gotten a few recommendations for realtors and I found two that I like, but they're fairly different.
One works for a small group that seems very local to the few towns I'm looking at and they know those towns well having grown up and lived in the area for decades. The other works for one of largest firm in the area but doesn't know the areas as well.
Both said they can set me up with alerts for MLS, so does that mean they both have access to all the same houses and it's just a matter of which ones they bring to me?
While you can certainly work with multiple agents on the buy-side, it is not recommended, unless you clearly define the types of properties they should present and limit the geographic scope so they don't overlap. The last thing you want is to have to clear the air after both send you the same listings (which is more likely than not).
Because all agents have access to the same MLS listings, it is always recommended to work with the one who has a deeper knowledge of a local area and more experience with that type of property (type, $/SF, size, etc.), especially if you feel that both will service you just as well as the other. When it comes to the offer and contract, you'll want the agent who understands the in's and out's of the local homes and pricing - after all, real estate is a hyper-localized industry.
If you've found an agent who fits all of those criteria, you may want to consider starting with them to see how it goes before looking to the second.
As an FYI, when selling a home, you won't encounter this problem as you will enter into an exclusive listing agreement with a selling broker/agent.