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Do I need a broker to view homes listed on Zillow?

  • January 20 2013 - Downtown
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Answers (9)

Based on your comments, you may have had some bad, unprofessional experiences.  As Craig below stated, Zillow, Realtor, or Trulia and many other sites are not brokerages. A good and reputable agent should have your best interest.  If you do contact the listing agent, three things could happen. They will want to represent you too, in which case they will only be a neutral agent(facilitator) collecting both commission. They can designate another agent or you can remain unrepresented depending on what agency laws are in your state.
  • February 23
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Profile picture for user2820625
Sometimes having a buyers agent works against the buyer. When seller does not want to come down in price, listing agent may rather compensate the buyer by sharing his compensation with the buyer. Listing agent has interest in makig the sale than letting listing expire, in which case he does not make money.
Agents will work for buyer whether buyer has agreement or not. But once you sign the agreement, you will lose the rebate from the listing agent.
  • January 20 2013
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Profile picture for craigfial

To clarify, ZILLOW is NOT a brokerage and does not represent sellers.  ZILLOW and TRULIA are data companies that just collect information, manipulate it and re-distribute to people via their website.

If you want to visit a house, you will need to either contact the listing agent or contact a buyers agent.  If the home is a FSBO, then you can deal directly with the owner and that info will be public.
 

  • January 20 2013
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Profile picture for blub blub blub
SoCal  usually those that list as a FSBO with a discount service  or one that inputs your house into the MLS are usually only getting the MLS exposure.  Most likely, the seller is the one who would be contacted for showings and the person letting the potential buyer in to view the property.

  • January 20 2013
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Profile picture for blub blub blub
If you do not have an REA to make the appointment for you, then either the seller or the listing agent is going to have to be present to let you in.  Most likely, you will be contacting the listing agent.

You do not need to be represented by the listing agent.  The listing agent can let you into the property as a ministerial act .

Ministerial Acts – Acts performed by a licensee for a consumer that are clerical in nature and do not rise to the level of agency representation. They include but are not limited to:

  • Talking to a consumer who is asking about availability and pricing of brokerage services;
  • Responding to phone calls from a consumer about price or location of a property
  • Setting an appointment to view a property; and
  • Completing business or factual information on a contract for the consumer (not the client) on behalf of the agent's own client.

If you do not want to be represented by an agent, then make it very clear to the listing agent and they should have some sort of ministerial act form for you to sign.

  • January 20 2013
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
"Actually, you must have an agent to let you in properties listed by a real estate company. You do not have to be represented by an agent. However, any agent that gives you access to a home without a licensed agent being present is subject to discipline by the state real estate commission."

Or..

"No, you don't need your own broker/REA to view homes listed on Zillow or any MLS. However, if you aren't represented by your own broker/REA, the listing broker/REA will need to be present when you view a property listed by a RE company."

Sidebar Question - How does that play out if a FSBO has engaged a listing service for MLS-presence-only? Technically, the property is listed by a RE company, but I seriously doubt a REA is going to handle showings.
  • January 20 2013
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I agree with Socal...you don't need an agent to show you properties.  You need access to them, which would be provided by the sellers agent or the seller if FSBO, etc.  One of the many benefits of working with a buyers agent is the ease of access to properties.  They would set up countless appts for you on your time.  That would leave you free to concentrate on the properties and not call around to 50 different sellers/brokers and set up appts all day/week long.  Aside from that, as already stated, a buyers agent is bound by ethics and commission laws to have your bestt interest in mind when you are selecting a property to buy.  It's a complicated world, and having someone represent you, when the seller typically pays the buy side commission is a NO brainer.

  • January 20 2013
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Profile picture for Steven Ard
Actually, you must have an agent to let you in properties listed by a real estate company. You do not have to be represented by an agent. However, any agent that gives you access to a home without a licensed agent being present is subject to discipline by the state real estate commission.
  • January 20 2013
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
No. Beyond that, you don't "need" a broker/REA to view any home listed for sale.

However, as I am sure many will soon tell you, you "really should" have a broker/REA with you to "represent your interests". That's your call, based on your level of comfort with the RE markets and the mechanics of transactions in your locale.

Out of idle curiosity, what would be your motivation for not engaging a broker/REA?

But, "need"? No.
  • January 20 2013
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