realtor house showing

Asked by Matthew Orr, 11561 Fri Jul 13, 2007

Just started looking for a house to buy. Saw one that I would be interested in seeing the inside of as the photos only show the outside and yard. Are there any legal ramifications about getting a realtor to show me a house when I don't have a realtor to represent me yet?

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Cherin Cox, Agent, Houston, TX
Fri Jul 13, 2007
I don't see any reasons why you shouldn't ask the REALTOR to show you the home. Just be upfront about your position. I'm not sure which state you are in but in Texas we have Agency laws that describe the relationships between the Broker and the Client. In Texas the agent showing you the home, that also lists the property for sale, would represent the SELLERS BEST INTEREST, not yours. If you go to the property without a REALTOR representing you be sure not to say anything you wouldn't want the Seller to know. If you decide that the property is not what you are looking for you might decide to ask the agent to show you other homes and possibly be your Exclusive Buyer's Agent. This person would represent your best interest and not the Sellers. This gets very tricky because the Agent may show you other properties he or she has listed (which in Texas is called Intermediary). I would suggest having a discussion with any agent you choose to represent you on how they handle that situation with their Buyer Clients.

In short, I would call the agent, tell them you'l like to see the said property. If they ask if you are working with an agent let them no you are not. At the showing do not give out any information you wouldn't want the seller to know. If you decide the house is not for might talk to the agent about their being your Exclusive Buyers Agent. Remembering to ask, how they handle intermediary situations.
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J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Fri Jul 20, 2007
Hi Matthew:
Hope you were able to see the home you wrote about. I was hoping to get feedback on whether you contacted a REALTOR and how that worked for you.

The reason for my inquiry is that it struck me how an agent could not only open this home for you - but point you in the direction of other similar properties. If so - did the agent do it without requiring a "buyers" contract? Please advise - you're sort of a test study!
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Paul Slaybau…, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Fri Jul 13, 2007
Representation and compensation are two separate matters. You can always enlist the services of a buyer's agent to represent you during the transaction, even after the listing agent shows you the property. If there is a dispute between agents regarding who was the procuring cause of the sale, however, your agent could get aced out of his fee. Co-brokes are offered by listing agents to buyers' agents to bring buyers after all, not to be transaction managers. In such a case, expect your agent to look to you for payment.
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Ralph Windsc…, Agent, Hauppauge, NY
Sun Feb 15, 2009
I would strongly recommend that you find a good buyer's agent to represent you and sit you down to tell you all the ins and outs of buying a home. It's important to find out what your goals are in purchasing a home. There are certainly no legal ramifications of having a realtor show you a home. However, you might be wasting someone's time if you do not intend on putting an offer in with that particular realtor. The first thing you should know is that for the most part, in today's market you will be working with a brokers or seller's agent or a buyer broker. Broker/Seller's agents work for the seller and buyer brokers work for you. I would be pleased to discuss this with you at your convenience.

Ralph Windschuh
Associate Broker
Certified Buyer Representative
Century 21 Princeton Properties
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Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat Feb 14, 2009

Certainly not. You can contact any agent and request to preview a home. We recommend attending open houses to start collecting information about neighborhoods, homes, and prices.

Good luck
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Fri Feb 13, 2009
No, keep in mind that technically we all work for the seller, unless there is a buyer broker agreement than we work for you. Not all realtors are alike, if you work with one and for whatever reason you are not happy with the service you can move on. Do be careful if there is a buyer broker agreement because then you are locked in for whatever time frame is specified.
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Heide Lippac…, Agent, Long Beach, NY
Wed Jan 28, 2009
Hello Matthew,
There are not any legal ramifications about getting a realtor to show you a home.
Once you have a few homes you want to view, it is actually easier for you, to have me make all the phones calls and book the appointments. I also pick up the keys and return them. Sometimes the home has restrictive showing instructions for an example, 24 hr notice.
If there were 5 homes you wanted to see on your own you would have to call 5 real estate offices and be met by five different real estate agents, it can get confusing for you and time consuming. Than what if the home is empty with a lock box code. You be build a trusting relationship with an agent and enjoy the buying process.

Charles Rutenberg Realy
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Joseph Sinno…, Agent, Long Beach, CA
Thu Oct 9, 2008
Hey Matthew,
My name is Joe Sinnona and i can represent you as a buyers broker or if you want i can represent the seller as a sellers agent. I would be more than happy to work with you on this home and any others. For a complete line of listings...visit my webpage: or call me at my office 516.897.2700
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Barbara E. N…, Agent, Oceanside, NY
Fri Aug 8, 2008
Hi Matthew
Are you still looking for a house in Long Beach? My primary area is Long Beach, call me or e-mail me and I will be glad to assists you
Barbara Nowak
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Steve McGuire, , New Hampshire
Fri Jul 20, 2007
Hi Matthew,
Sounds like you are just starting out. Wherever you happened upon the house you want to see I'm sure it gave you the listing agent or firm as a contact (unless it's a For Sale By Owner). If you contact the agent with the listing - they would be representing the Seller.
This would be a great opportunity for you to contact another local firm and have an agent you might consider representing you, show you the property. Should you decide to purchase this property you may owe a commission to the agent that shows it to you. Ask the agent to explain your options and responsabilites before showing you the property. Representation (Agency) can differ from state to state. If an agent can't explain your options, I'd look for another.
In most cases the first property you see is not the property you will end up purchasing.
Best of luck to you.
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Pierre Calza…, Other Pro,
Fri Jul 13, 2007
NY does have a procuring cause rule - "ready, willing and able" the agent that brings a ready, willing and able buyer to view a home is due a commission. I think your question may have to do with any "allegiance" - the answer is "NO". You owe the showing agent no allegiance for anything, and he owes you none either. The only time there is an established relationship is with buyer's agency.

this practice is NOT common in NY fo rseveral reasons. nevertheless, You can go see that house with agent "A" - however, if you ever go back to that house to make an offer, you should not go back with agent "B"... as agent "A" showed you the home first and does have rights, but NONE that can harm you - only the 2nd agent.

So to be fair, most people in NYC work with a few agents, until they find one they like. Or they go to Open Houses without an agent and just ask questions of the listing agent.

I actually think I may know you matthew, so we can talk more this weekend.

Long staory short, you have nothing to worry about unless you sign a "buyer's agency" form - please note that in NYS we require an agency disclosure to be shown, do not confuse the disclosure with an agency agreement. The disclosure just states that you are aware whether the agent you are dealing with is representing the seller or you.

you can see the form and laws at the link below.
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Erica D. Lev…, Home Buyer, North Dighton, MA
Fri Jul 13, 2007
You definately have to be up front with the agent. If the agent refuses to show the property because you are not being represented, then contact the local Board of Realtors and file a report. Just because you do not have a realtor representing you does not mean you can not see a listing. I'm sure you are not going to have a problem. But if you do, make sure you report it.

The Board need to know about agents that are not willing to cooperate. I also agree with the fact that if it is a listing agent, they ARE working for the best interest of the "seller". Even if they tell you otherwise!
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Patricia Wood, Agent, Ocean Breeze Park, FL
Fri Jul 13, 2007
Matthew....while there are most likely no "legal ramifications", why start out on the wrong foot? I would suggest just being honest with the Listing Agent. There is no reason you cannot use that Agent to represent you as well if you are comfortable with her/him. In fact, after viewing the property you may develop a rapport with that Agent and ask them to show you other homes. As far as "procuring cause" ... In my market no one "owns a Customer". You are free to make an offer on any property through whatever Agent you wish. Still, it will be a much more pleasant experience if you are up front and honest when making appointments. Full Time Professional Realtors work very hard and for us, time literally is money.
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Terry Bell, , Chattanooga, TN
Fri Jul 13, 2007
Contacting a realtor to see a house is not going to land you in legal trouble. But keep this in mind. The realtor whose name appears on the sign, aka. the listing agent, is working on behalf of, and for the best interests of the the home seller. You'd rather have some working in your best interests when it comes t o buying a home. Therefore, we'd encourage you to cantact an agent you trust and ask them to show you the house. If after you've met and feel you have a rapport with the agent you may ask that agent to represent you.
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Vicki Moore, Agent, San Carlos, CA
Fri Jul 13, 2007
No, there are no legal ramifications. Maybe just moral ones; asking a realtor to show you property without any intention of working with them is a little cruel, since we work on commission and only get paid when you get the keys to your new home.

I suggest that you find someone to work with. It's sort of like dating. You'll be working closely with this person for at least two months. So be sure you like the person. Finding an agent before you start looking will also allow them to prepare you for what's to come, especially if it's your first purchase.

One of my more recent clients asked me some great questions before they committed to working with me. I believe he got the questions from a book sold by the National Association of Realtors. I put a link below for you to get ideas of what you could ask.
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Kim Chitwood, Agent, Fayetteville, GA
Fri Jul 13, 2007
There is something in Real estate called procuring cause. Once the listing agent shows you the home, technically she doesn't 'have' to share commissions with another agent. You should tell him/her up front if you will be bringing back an agent to represent you. (I live and work in GA so check in your area)
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