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 on sites like Realtor.com and Zillow. These websites make their money by selling leads, so the “Contact Agent” link you click on is actually an agent who pays for the position, and is rarely the listing agent.
Tips on using the various search sites
We recommend Compass if you just want to search by address and get the contact information of the actual listing agent. Just bear in mind that if you search by zip or city, Compass agent listings will appear at the top.
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 “Listed by Bob Smith with ABC Realty” somewhere below the description. You’ll need to google the name to get the contact information.
Most property search sites sponsored by brokerage offices will list one of their agents as the listing agent on ALL listings, as if it were their listing. The actual listing agent name is hidden somewhere on the page.
In Houston, use only HAR.com, it’s the best.
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