Buyers Agent-just for looking

8 Replies


I have an agent in the town that I live but I have no contacts in another city that I'm interested in getting into for rental investments. I contacted my agent (hasn't gotten back to me yet) to find out if they have any contacts in this other city.

Do I really need to have an agent just to look at homes? I've found one in particular and there is a sellers agent as with anything in the MLS. I'm just looking and not going to be making offers.


generally speaking, real estate agents only get paid when they close a deal... Any agent who would show you properties with zero chance of making any money would probably not be worth talking to.

I would not suggest being anything less than totally upfront and honest about your intentions from the start. You probably will not find anyone willing to work for you for free.

Best of luck.

So are you saying that agents will only want to engage when the person buys the first thing out the gate? That doesn't seem lucrative for the agent or the buyer. And at this point I'm researching and looking at out-of-town investments.

I have a very good agent I work with in my home town but given the distance and market, she is not going to be able to help. I did ask her if she has any contacts as we've had this conversation before about my looking at investments outside of our area. In the beginning my agent helped me get my first investment here (2nd overall) and then a 3rd. She knows I'm good for the time invested and didn't think twice about helping me with the initial 2nd purchase..

With that said, I agree I am always up front and honest about my intensions. I don't want my time wasted and I don't waste other peoples time. It seems that I can only look at properties through the sellers agent and then when I want to buy I need to get my own agent, which will reap the benefit of doing nothing.

Originally posted by @Daria B. :

 then when I want to buy I need to get my own agent, which will reap the benefit of doing nothing.

I understand where this impression comes from and it's probably due to poor agents but that  hurts me...even across the country. :P I just represented a client buying an investment where they had the property basically picked, so in that regard I didn't do much. However, to get the deal to close I did more work than probably anyone else in the transaction. I read 40% of deals that go under contract do not close. A good agent will help you in ways you may not have thought of yet.

I think you should start contacting a couple agents in the area. If you are going to buy in a reasonable timeframe most shouldn't have a problem showing you a few properties so you can learn. Interview them first and make sure they understand your plan and you can work w them. It may take time but finding the right agent can save you lots of time, money and frustration down the road.

Hope that helps. 

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@Jeff Valentino when I was pursuing my 2nd property here in town I had no agent and found one that's not an "investors" agent but was still capable of helping me get a foothold into the area. this new area I have no contacts and am trying to find some. There are a lot of agents out there. Just as you did the work so did my agent. She was patient with me as I had questions :) and in the end we were both fruitful. I basically found my 3rd and she was along for the ride. Don't get me wrong, she did do the paperwork and made the calls to get the contract signed and other follow up. I'm just looking for the same in a new area.

I don't think anyone can say "oh I'm going to buy tomorrow or next month". Properties have to be seen and research done to see just what the worth is going to be. I'm already investing a lot of my time so when I want to see a property it just seems that I should be able to do that to help further my decision. And I can only do that with an agent that has the keys. :) I'm not a realtor so o can't get the rental analysis numbers, or what rents are really going for and I'm not able to get other information on properties that would otherwise be pulled by the agent. My current PM pulls this kind of information for me now for the properties they manage when I discuss what rents will be for my properties. But again, this is not available for me getting into a new market area.

Thanks for your insight.

@Daria B.

Call some agents in this area and explain what it is your looking to do.

As I understand it from the above posts you are looking into a new area. Not sure if you want to buy in that area but are trying to do some research to help make a decision.

Sounds like a normal thought process to me. Explain this to the agents you contact. Some may think you will be worth the time in hopes that you do decide to buy in this area and their investment of time will be worth it once they become your agent when the time to close a deal comes. 

Others may think you are not worth the time as you are just window shopping at the moment.

Just like you do not owe it to any particular agent to be their client no agent owes you anything in regards to satisfying your need to see the properties. Both the agent and the client (you) will need to make a business decision for themselves on whether or not to pursue this relationship.

As an agent myself I personally would not be interested in  working one on one with a person in your situation. To many plates spinning for me to put time into a long shot like that. However there are other agents at my brokerage who would be more than happy to work with someone in your exact situation. They have a smaller book of business and want to go after all possible leads to get themselves going.

Hope that provided some insight into the psyche of an agent.  

If you want someone with a deep network that is really good they do not do things for free. They have a lot of business and time is money.

I think a fair thing to do is at least cover the broker/agents gas and take them for a meal etc. if you want to look at these places to do market research.

One time looking at things for a FEW properties may not be bad but over and over again it doesn't make sense for an agent to do it. They are actually costing themselves money by taking up time to educate you on the market when others want to close today or write offers. If all brokers/agents did was take people around to see the sights they would go out of business. Maybe you could offer an upfront retainer of say 500 to have the broker/agent educate you on the market. If you buy something they credit that back to you at closing if allowed in that state. If you want a newbie grunt with limited knowledge they would probably do it for free but wouldn't be worth more than letting you in the door.

On the commercial real estate side I do spend time with buyers but it is phone calls and e-mails with analysis on various properties during the discovery period. If I had to drive them all over creation it would be a no go on a maybe. When I have closings the commissions are six figures usually so it is a different world than residential.

@joelowens So true.  I'm just starting out in the Agent world.  I've had my license for about a year now, but I've just really started to dig in in the last month.  Had a baby, a couple months later, decided I needed to be more available for her (I did go back to my banking job for a couple months before deciding this..  It's hard!), so here I am.  I know it has only been about 3 weeks, but so far I haven't had too much luck, and have found myself spending more money then I thought I would, and I'm still not sure if I'm ok with it!  I'm going to give it a change though, I'm just not used to it yet I think.  But I know what you  mean, I've had a few people think I'm just their personal house show-er, and they know they are not wanting to buy for a while but they think looking at houses is fun, or they just blow you off.  I'm not sure what to do in these situations, but I'm hoping a quality buyer or seller will come my way!  I'm always willing to learn new things and work for it!  

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