You’ve been browsing the local market for months on end in search of homes for sale for your family. Finally, you’ve created a short list of every open house in the area—every house seems like a great deal, and the prices are within your budget.
In order to make a final decision, your next step is to have an official real estate visit to check them out and talk to the sellers and/or their real estate agents.
You’re not really in a rush because you want to make sure that you’re making the right decision. You’re also toying with the idea of a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) and doing your research on how to buy a house without a Realtor®.
You may be asking yourself: can I tour a house without a Realtor®? Before you start touring and attending upcoming open house events, here is an important piece of advice: contact a real estate broker to help you from the get-go!
While it may seem unessential from the start—you’re just viewing the properties, anyway—working with a Realtor® is still a good idea so you can be guided throughout your journey of finding your future home and avoid potential troubles along the way.
Why is It Beneficial to View a House With a Realtor®?
Can you view a house without a Realtor®? The answer is both a yes and a no.
Yes, you may view a home without an agent to represent you. But the seller of the property will definitely want a licensed real estate agent to supervise the viewing, especially if the owners themselves can’t be present at the time of the showing.
This means that a listing agent will most likely be present on the premises when you tour a house without an agent, especially if it is an open house event.
You might be picking your brain and asking: do I need a real estate agent? Do I need a Realtor® to buy a house? Sellers usually employ listing agents to accommodate inquiries from potential buyers. But keep in mind that they are the seller’s agents who are contractually obligated to represent the seller’s best interests.
While they won’t lie to you or give you misleading information, it is not their responsibility to represent you or protect your interests.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you find your own agent to assist you as you buy a house for yourself and your family. Working with a buyer’s agent ensures that your best interests are represented well and that you are properly guided through every negotiation and decision.
Your agent will make sure that you get the best offer, find the right property, and get a fair price for a home. They will even give you advice in case you encounter problems along the way, be it home inspections, purchase agreements, or closing costs.
If you’re buying a home without a buyer’s agent—a.k.a. your personal Realtor®—the seller’s agent may try to convince you to go for a dual agency, which means that the seller’s agent will act as a representative for both the buyer and the seller. The entire commission for the sale of the property will go to the dual agent.
Remember, however, that you are not obliged to use the seller’s agent. In fact, experts say that your best move is to get your own Realtor® to make sure that your interests are well-communicated and protected in the negotiation.
How to View a House Without a Realtor®
Just in case you have decided to proceed with viewing a house without a Realtor®, here is a step-by-step guide on how to view homes without an agent:
- First, contact the listing agent and make a schedule for a house showing. Make sure you’ve got the right contact details and the right person to contact. Some sites tend to be confusing.
When emailing an agent, use your professional email address to build your credibility as a buyer. If you’re using your personal email, make sure that your full name is visible in the address and that your email is hosted by a credible service provider such as Google. Otherwise, sellers might mistake your email as a spam message, or they might not take your email seriously because the address looks dubious or unprofessional.
- Second, communicate that you’re serious about buying a house without a Realtor®. Give sufficient information about yourself and share with them why you’re looking for a new home. Demonstrate your seriousness in buying a property so that the seller or the agent will know that you won’t be wasting their time.
- Third, suggest several schedule options that fit your calendar. Doing so will save a huge amount of time trying to find the right schedule for both parties. This also allows you to be in control of the search instead of making last-minute adjustments and being at the mercy of other people’s schedules.
If email takes too long, and the back and forth correspondence cuts into precious time, don’t be afraid to pick up your phone and call the listing agent. It may be best to arrange a phone call with the listing agent on your first email and give your phone number so you can quickly set an appointment.
- Fourth, send a calendar invitation once an appointment is set. Not only will this help you in reminding yourself of the schedule, but it will also communicate your seriousness in buying a home without a Realtor®.
On the day of the house viewing, you may opt to reconfirm the appointment with the listing agent. While this may be an extra step, this will also help you avoid going to a property without a listing agent to talk to because of an emergency or any other reason.
- Lastly, come on time and dress properly for the appointment. Show up professionally when seeing a house without a Realtor®. Come prepared with all your questions so you can make the most of the appointment. For more tips for going to an open house, read here.
Do you need a Realtor® to look at a house? Touring houses and properties may seem like an easy task. It may even be enjoyable to some. This is why many people don’t see the need to employ the services of a real estate agent at this point in the home buying process.
But having someone alongside you who has trained eyes, knows the important questions to ask, and is skillful in making offers will really come in handy, especially when so much money is at stake.
So unless you’re well-versed in these matters, working with an agent is the best way to go.
Do buyers pay commission to real estate agents? In other words, does the buyer pay Realtor® fees? Worry not, because as a buyer, it’s not your obligation to pay for the agent’s commission. Typically, paying for Realtor® fees is the seller’s obligation towards the end of the property’s sale.