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Phred, Other/Just Looking in San Francisco, CA

How can I see property without an agent?

Asked by Phred, San Francisco, CA Thu Mar 19, 2009

I am investigating the possibility of purchasing a vacation rental in the Scottsdale area. I wonder how I could arrange to see some of the properties being listed. I would normally get a buyers agent, but not sure I have time right now and wonder if listing agents are normally willing to show property. Is there an ethics problem with this?

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Dana Schuster’s answer
I think what you are asking is if a seller will let you see the house on your own & the answer is probably no. you do not have to commit to a particular agent,but one of the reasons owners list with agents is that they want anyone who comes into their home to be accompanied by an agent. There are liability issues involved and there have been crimes committed by people who have come in unaccompanied. people are really afraid of this--they don't know you after all.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
There is no eithic problem. If you are geting educated on an area (and are not the impulsive type) go ahead and schedule the appt with the listing agent. In all probability you are not going to buy the home.

This will serve several purposes (beside the fact you get into the property). The listing agent now might not be the lsiting agent on another property and may be a good agent. Take the time to interview them while you are on the spot.

It might be adviseable to interview another agent while you are down there. Ask a few friends for referrals and setup a short meet and greet over coffee with them and listen to what the have to say.

Just a thought.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
I'll be completely honest with you. Agents will commit to you after just a couple of things:
1. You commit to them by completing the buyer broker agreement
2. You are pre-approved
3. You are ready, willing and able to buy.
Now for me personally, if I have those things in place you could be 6 mos away from buying but I remain committed to your success and develop the plan based on what we find during your consultation.
I'll admit that I wouldn't not start by showing homes on the first trip rather I'd have you identify neighborhoods. You have to like the area you'll want to live etc.

So for this trip if you wish to remain "on your own" there is no reason you should not be able to "view" some homes by making those calls. Note, that agents will ask questions to "qualify" you. The role of the listing agent is to show the home and bring a "ready, willing, and able" buyer so some may verify this with you prior to showing.

Truth is you'll want the area prior to the home, you'll want the affordability prior to the home, then you'll want the best deal on that home. So identify neighborhood, price point (approval with lender) and then homes. I would take this trip in the next couple weeks to just drive areas and make note of neighborhoods. When you see an open house go on in. If an agent is able to show you quickly when you call on the sign, go on and do it. These are begining stages and you have to do what is comfortable to you.

My website for property search via map is so you can see homes that are available by neighborhood to "preview" where you may want to drive around when you are hear.

All my best
Laura Myers
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009

There is NO ethics problem with you representing you on your own asking listing agents to show you their homes for sale what so ever.

As long as they are all my listings then it's ok. :-)

Anyway, If you "normally" worked with a buyers agent then why not do that again? I'm sure you already understand the benefits and I can tell you dual agency right now is not the best situation to be in especially if you are purchasing a bank owned home.

So anyway, the choice is entirely up to you.

All The Best,

Stew Keene
Scottsdale, AZ
Signature Realty Group
2008-2009 Master Of Real Estate award
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
You will waste your time and the Listing Agent's time. Just think about your time setting up appointments with 4 or 5 different agents to see 4 or 5 properties. If you find a good trustworthy agent you can have them setup all the appointments, drive you around and point out facts about the neighborhood you would never learn about otherwise. Take advantage of this agents knowledge about the area AND what he has learned about you needs while spending time with you. The more you share with this agent the better able he/she will be able to find a place the "fits" your needs. Pick a local expert - not someone who is willing to take you anywhere. Click the link to see where we focus (ask me about Gilbert and I'll refer you to someone else).
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 10, 2009

So you have time to run all over doing the search yourself? Sounds like you have the time to find an agent that will be interested in helping you - after all we aren't that difficult to locate - ha ha! I would suggest doing a little upfront work that will end up saving you lots of time. Especially if you are an out of state buyer. Make your buyers agent do the work BEFORE you arrive by seraching for homes that fit your criteria. Get their feedback on area and advantages. Then when you get to town you only have a few homes to look see. Plus it will make it easier to finish all the paperwork and the back and forth work to finish the deal. It will pay to have an agent on your side.

Judy Craven
Big Land & Homes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 31, 2009
There's nothing wrong with looking and the only "ethical" issue you may want to consider is in the remote chance you want to buy a home that you've toured and do not have a buyer's agent. This would mean that the listing agent writes your offer and their loyalty will be with their client, the seller. Sounds like you are an experienced purchaser so I'm sure you know this. Feel free to go to any open house and call the listing agent of any home you may be interested in to schedule an appointment. It's an agent's job to show listings to unrepresented buyers and often do this. You may, however, encounter agents that require you to come into their office first to provide a bit of background info or a driver's license - both of which are simply for their safety and the safety of their clients. Having a buyer's agent will eliminate the need to do this every time you want to see a listing with a different agent. I only caution you to mention to listing agents that you will be working with your own agent if you intend to do so. Listing agents tend to get overzealous with unrepresented buyers, but you may also find a listing agent that you enjoy working with and choose them to represent you on the purchase of another property. Have fun and enjoy being a buyer in today's market!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
Concentrate on open houses and For Sale By Owners.......
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009

with the limited time you have to review, you might look at having the buyers agent preview the listings for you using video tours and uploading them to you tube as "S2NAZ".

This is what I do for most of my out of state or out of country buyers.

This saves an enormous amount of time.

Good Luck!

Stew Keene
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
Thanks to all for the prompt answers. But to clarify my original question, please note:
- I am NOT considering making any offer without a buyers agent representing me
- I am coming to Scottsdale in less than two weeks and will have maybe 1/2 day to look around.
- I am just researching the possiblity or purchasing and it will depend on many factors, such as market trends, ROI, rental rates, vacancy rates, etc.

All I wanted to do now was pick up the bits of info you can't really get on the internet. I would not feel right getting a buyer's agent involved at this early stage and wanted to know if listing agents would either be put off by the prospect or could not do it for ethical reasons.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
Phred, here is part of the challenge.

Active real estate agents are working 8 to 14 hours per day 6 days a week right now because are market is experiencing a market shift. Our pending sales on the MLS at the time this posting was made is over 10,600 and this is DOUBLE if not nearing TRIPLE the amount of homes that we normally see. Our inventory has dropped to around 48,000 homes for sale.

I have to be dedicated to my clients who are dedicated to me right now and take care of their needs. I believe most agents and REALTORS will feel that their clients come first. If you are just "looking around" unless you get a really desperate agent who has nothing to do in this VERY BUSY market, it will be hard to get into see the home.

As John said below, you really may want to consider retaining a BUYER'S AGENT to represent you incase you do find a home that you like that will represent your best interests. John is located in Scottsdale, why don't you give him a call.

There is not an ethics problem with listing agents showing you homes, but you could be facing a procuring cause issue and a dual agency issue. You are contact the seller's representative. This could be compared to being sued in a court of law and asking the prosecuting attorney to represent you. In other words you give all of your NEGOTIATION POWER to the SELLER - not a good idea. The listing agents are probably very busy too.

My recommendation - hire a buyer's representative - give John or anyone else in the area you are considering looking a call.

I hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
You have the right to walk into any home where there is a public open house, for example, and talk of your interest in purchasing that property. In New Jersey, if the seller has listed with a broker as an 'Exclusive Right To Sell' property, a buyer must be represented. So, 'For Sale By Owner' properties or where the home owner has not relinquished his or her rights to sell, you can go it alone. Problem is you are on your own with no business professional to look out for your best interests, and further, in New Jersey the commission is paid by the seller. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
Hi Phred
You can drive neighborhoods and call the listing agents and make appointments to see. Let them know you are working on your own so you do not have access to the home without them. They will make an appointment to let you see. They should not have a problem with this as the main goal is to get the property sold for the seller. The challenge could be in setting up the homes so you could see them in a timely manor. You would serve yourself better to interview a couple buyers agents who will make all the calls keep your time frame to view properties down to 3 hours or less and navigate the bank owned and short sale homes that dominate our market. You will spend more time without your own representation.
Typically a good buyers agent will interview with you, identify your goals, get you pre-approved with a lender so you know your price point and ability to buy then they will have you target your neighborhoods and from that point bring you to property to view and eventually buy the one you seek!

The good agents, listing and buyer, will be identified if they make sure they qualify you first. Those that don't want to take the time are willing to waste your time and theirs and usually speaks to their experience.
Let me know if I can provide the top 19 tips to ask your Realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
You can certainly find the listing agent for each property, but if you have no representation, who's going to look out for your best interests? Certainly not the listing agent and their job is to sell the property for as much as possible... Don't shoot yourself in the foot before you even start the process...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 19, 2009
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