Getting in to see existing homes
You have several options in getting in to see a home.
- Open house is the most convenient
- Listing agent – most are willing to show it, but some may ask for something in writing to ensure they get the entire commission. Most get 3% for the listing half of the commission, and another 3% if they also represent the buyer. Don’t sign anything!
- Paid showing – you can pay $50 to $100 to have an agent show you the home with no further obligations.
- Any other agent who is willing to show it to you, such as the agent who responds when you click “Contact Agent” next to the listing (call us before doing this).
The big real estate websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia are intentionally misleading because their business is to sell leads.
They display the listing agent name, but not always the listing agent phone number (unless the agent pays for this). There is a link by each listing that says “Contact Agent”. This is meant to mislead you to believe this is the listing agent. It’s actually a paid advertising link. When you click on that link and enter your contact information, your “lead” goes to multiple agents who pay for your lead. They pay a flat monthly fee per zip code, and are usually very eager to get new business and show your home.
Don’t be surprised if you get phone calls from 3 agents eager to show you the home within 10 minutes of entering your information!
On Realtor.com, the agent and office name is at the top of the listing and sometimes includes a phone number. If not, then the contact information is inconveniently located towards the bottom.
On Zillow, Trulia, and others, the agent name will be labeled as “Presented by Bob Smith with ABC Realty” or “Courtesy ABC Realty”. You’ll need to google it to get the contact information.
Most property search sites sponsored by brokerage offices will have one of their agents appear as the listing agent. You’ll have to search the listing page for small print hidden somewhere with the actual listing office name.
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