Curated from https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/what-happens-if-i-view-a-home-without-a-buying-agent/?iid=rdc_news_hp_carousel_theLatest
After searching through pages of online listings, you've compiled a master list of every open house you're interested in touring. You're ready to start attending open houses, but you don't have a buyer's agent—aka someone to represent your best interests every step of the way. Is that a problem? A buyer's agent will help you navigate the process of buying a house, but do you need to hire one to actually tour the houses you're interested in?
The short answer is that it's not absolutely essential from the very start, but it's a good idea to hook up with a buyer's agent as soon as possible. A buyer's agent's job is to assist home buyers in all matters during the journey of buying a house, including finding the right property, negotiating the offer, and even dispensing advice if problems arise during escrow.
"They should guide you through the entire process," says Ryan Hardy, a broker with Gold Coast Realty in Chicago. "A buyer's agent's job is to make sure you're getting a fair price, and nothing is being overlooked."
Do you need a buyer's agent to view an open house?While most real estate agents recommend you call and book with them ahead of time, they're used to people coming to them with a list of houses they're interested in and calling later to set up an appointment.
If you're already working with an agent, you don't have an obligation to call him or her up to tell them you have checked out a house, but it's a good idea to do so, says Hardy. "It's best to keep them informed, so they can do their job effectively."
If you have one on speed dial already, give him or her a call, to let them know you've found a place. They can start making inquiries. If you don't, ask around—friends can typically recommend someone they trust who has helped them.
What happens if you view a home without a buyer's agent?There may be a listing agent on the premises, especially if it's an open house. But experts say you should still seek out your own representation. If you attended the open house without a buyer's agent, you might feel obligated to contact the listing agent, but it's common practice for buyers to have their own agent representing them.
"You aren't required to use the real estate agent who was hosting the open house," says Deb Tomaro, a broker associate with RE/MAX Acclaimed Properties in Bloomington, IN. In fact, Tomaro recommends that buyers always find their own agent, because it's not up to a seller's agent to represent your interests.
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"The name on the sign in front of the house you like represents the seller," she says. "They have taken an oath to represent that person's best interests. They cannot lie to you, but they also aren't necessarily able to 'fight' for you, because they can't fight for the buyer and still represent the seller's best interests."
"The real estate market is based on cooperation between realtors," Hardy explains. "Buyer's agents and seller's agents work together, no matter what company or brokerage they work for."
Jeanne Sager has strung words together for the New York Times, Vice, and more. She writes and photographs people from her home in upstate New York.