Profile picture for piloting

How can I view properties in person if a real estate agent doesn't want to do business with me?

I am currently living with family, but I want to buy a condo in the city. I plan to live there with a roommate, which should cover most (if not all) my mortgage and fees, but I do not yet have a mortgage lender. At this point I just want to make sure that buying a condo is really for me. I have to look at condos in the lowest part of the neighborhood's price range, so I want to make sure that they would even be livable before renovations. I want to view a couple condos in the neighborhood that I like and get some questions answered, so that I can see if this is even something worth considering. Is there a way that I can just GO and look at them without a real estate agent? I already asked one agent about this and she wasn't interested in talking to me. 
  • September 27 2011 - Saint Louis
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Answers (18)

Best Answer

If you call a couple more Realtors and explain it the way you just did here, someone should be happy to show you a few condos, hoping that you get preapproved if you like what you see and then eventually buy from the nice agent that helped you in the first place.
  • September 27 2011
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Search online for your local multiple listing service with the board of realtors in your area.  Or you can go to a local real estate company's website.  Look up units that have sold in the area where you want to look.  Find the agents who have listed or sold these properties and call them.  But don't necessarily use the agent who has one currently listed.  In my state, when a Realtor represents both sides, the Realtor must become a neutral party in the transaction.  So they may not impart their knowledge to you.  You need an agent who represents just you as their client and works in your best interests.  You have the right idea, you just have to find the right agent.  If possible, interview two or three and pick the one you think you will work well with.  A good agent will guide you through the proper steps of the home buying process.  My first-time home buyers are the best clients I have, my most favorites.  Good luck.
  • September 29 2011
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I am sorry about the typos on my answer; the system would not let me edit.  I meant "basic" not basis. Last sentence: So no more as (not "ad"),
thank you
  • September 28 2011
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Is as easy as calling one of many lenders that work long distance. You will provide some basis info and the lender, will provide you several scenarios. This will allow you to choose a realtor and will prevent wasted time and efforts on all parties. If your credit is not good enough, you can start working on it Pre --approvals make sense for all involved. Good luck. I have takeN people out without preapproval under some conditions. So far it has turned out to be a waste of time. So no more ad this is also an indication of the willingness of the buyer to do their part on time.
  • September 28 2011
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
In addition to agents not wanting to show homes to clients who are not pre-approved, many sellers will not allow agents to show to clients who are not pre-approved.

As you've bumped into this wall, why not take the step to get pre-approved?   It isn't locking you into anything, but can help open the doors you wish to have opened.    You mentioned rent to pay much of the mortgage, but please be aware if you are dependent on the rent for payment of the mortgage and therefore pre-approval, then you may be beating your head against a brick wall.

Or, if you don't wish to get pre-approved, why not go to open houses? There are many options to help you move towards your goal, even if they take a different track than the one you proposed initially.



  • September 27 2011
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Although I understand wanting to just check things out to see if the condos in the price range you think you can afford are even worth it, the reason why pre-approvals are often necessary (besides avoiding wasting the agents and sellers' time) is that you may be wasting your time.  Lending requirements are nothing like they used to be.  People get denied sometimes for the strangest reasons.

Also what mortgage people you work with makes a load of difference.  Guidelines change all the time and mortgage reps who aren't up on the latest guidelines may pre-approve someone who then gets denies when its really important- before a potential closing.

There are most likely plenty of agents who will show you a house without pre-approval, especially since you are just testing the waters.  The pre-approval is for your sake more than anybody else's.

I understand that you want to just go on a fishing expedition for now but what good is it to visit any properties when you don't know what lenders are really willing to loan you?

Other than an open house, how would expect to just check any properties out and who would be answering the questions you want answered if there is no agent involved? 

Regarding Sunnyview, who is as highly respected as they come on this board and is the least patronizing person here, she has volunteered a tremendous amount of her own time on this board to help people such as yourself and your post regarding her was simply rude and uncalled for.
  • September 27 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I am sorry. I sure did not mean to offend you. Many agents on Zillow have stated that they will not show houses to clients that are not preapproved. As for the other advice, many people go house shopping before they have thought about qualifying, credit or a down. I am glad to hear that you have already thought about those beforehand. Good luck with your home hunt!
  • September 27 2011
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Profile picture for piloting
Mr. Stein, Sunnyview was unnecessarily patronizing. (Oh, you say I have to budget, that I need money for a down-payment? Wow! I never would have thought! I thought if I just sat in my computer chair and wrote some angsty comments about real estate agents on Zillow.com that magic would happen and I would get myself a pretty condo in the city. Well, gosh. I guess I better go talk to an agent then. Thanks mister!)

I think I made it pretty clear from my question why it is that I want to look at these condos. I only have so much money, and I need to know if putting money toward a condo is something that I should even *consider.* Owning a condo is something I have been thinking about for a while, and I want to look at a couple in person to see what my money would be getting me. If I don't like what I see, I will reevaluate my plans. I understand that real estate agents are not public servants, but they are not all-knowing demigods either. By virtue of not being a complete moron and having a casual interest in real estate investing, I do have some general knowledge of what goes into buying a home.

Thanks to Cari, Linda, and Bob for confirming that my request to view the properties without consulting a mortgage lender was reasonable. 


  • September 27 2011
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Profile picture for hpvanc
If you are just starting to look attend some open houses.  If you are lucky agents may advertise them online as Mike suggested, if your area is like mine you need to go out on Sat. and Sun. and look for the open house signs in your target area, since that seemed to be the only open house advertising.
  • September 27 2011
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Profile picture for JSteinHomes
sunnyview gave the best answer.  Since agents only get paid after all of the work they put in comes to fruition, many are hesitant to spend too much time working with someone who can't prove their ability to follow through on a potential purchase.  Get yourself pre-approved and most ever agent you meet will be more than happy to assist you in your property search.

Say "hello" to St. Louis for me.  I miss it there some days.
  • September 27 2011
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Profile picture for Cari Ritchey
Dear Piloting,
Trust me... there are plenty of qualified Realtors & Agents who would be willing to assist you with your search.  Buying a home (or condo) is a process.  I am sorry for your trouble, but continue until you find someone who appreciates your business and looks forward to working with you!
Good luck,
Cari R.
  • September 27 2011
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Thanks for your question "piloting" and sorry for your troubles. 

Search out a Realtor in your area on Zillow.com, and read their past client reviews.  If an agent is on Zillow they are more than likely hungry enough to jump on your situation.  If this does not work, feel free to reach out to me and I will refer you to a good agent in that area.

Make sure you are pre-approved, pre-qualified at the very list.

Good luck!   
  • September 27 2011
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I'd strongly urge you to sit down with a mortgage expert to determine your mortgage qualifications and comfort. Nevertheless, I'm sure you can find a local agent totake you to see properties of interest. You can also check your local newspaper, go online, or just drive around on the weekend and seek Open Houses. Also, seek out FSBO's via signs, Craigs List and other such local sites. Good luck.
  • September 27 2011
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Find another agent or call the listing agent directly.
  • September 27 2011
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Profile picture for kmelendez
It would be best for you and the agent to get you prequalified. That way you and the agent know you are looking at what is available in your price range.
  • September 27 2011
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The only way to see a listing without an agent is if the listing agent holds an Open House.  These are often listed on the websites of the major real estate companies in your city.

A quick check shows that Prudential Alliance has a searchable database of Open House opportunities. It's best to check them later in the week as agents often won't list an Open House until Thursday or Friday.
  • September 27 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
You really do need an agent to show you the condos. I would suggest that you see about getting prequalified with a lender before you call an agent though. Agents want to spend their professional time with people who are seriously looking to buy or sell. They are independent contractors so time is money for them.

Getting prequalified allows you to see your price range and tells the agent that you would be capable of buying the condos that you want to look at. There are things you can do before you call an agent to get yourself ready to buy here. Making a budget, getting money for a down payment, a talking to a lender to get prequalified will mean that a good agent will be willing to help you explore condos that might suit your needs.
  • September 27 2011
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You need to go with an agent. I know  my  sellers would not want anyone in their condo without an agent.

  • September 27 2011
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