Can we use more than one agent to look at homes?

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Dave,

We are in the midst of the home buying process—which has been really exciting! Our question for you is about “proper buyer behavior”. We have an agent who we really love and has been so helpful throughout the process. Last week she left town for a week and while she was gone we were still driving around town looking at homes. We found one we wanted to see—called the agent on the sign and had him show us the home. At the end of the showing he asked if we wanted him to set us up on an online home search. We told him we didn’t need another search because we had one through our agent. He got really stern all of a sudden and told us that we should only be looking at homes with our agent and not leading other agents to believe they’d get our business.

This was so confusing to us! That perspective never crossed our minds! Is it not okay to have different agents show us their homes? Should we only see homes with our agent? Thank you in advance for helping us!

Janey & Mike, Grand Junction


Janey and Mike,

You accidentally and unknowingly stumbled onto one of the real estate professions “hot button” issues, where agents are concerned, and that is why the agent got stern with you. As you pointed out in your question, you guys are excited and the process of looking for your new home is fun! You are really only focused on finding your new home which is hard to do when your agent has left town and not provided you a plan on how to access homes while she was on vacation. Life is tricky, with lots of moving parts, but you never know when the perfect house is going to come along and the good ones go fast!

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There are many ways to look at this, but ultimately your agent should have made a plan with you about who would show you property while she was gone. I can see this unfold in my mind.  You guys saw a house that looked like it might be “the one”. You called the agent who had the home listed and asked him to show you the home, as you don’t want to miss the perfect home because your realtor is on vaca. He was eager to make that happen and accommodate your wishes because he thought he could potentially work with you as a buyer and asked you very few, if any questions, other than what time would work and he was excited to show it to you?  Your only concern was to see the home so you set up a time to meet him. Since nobody explained to you how things work, because your agent was only focused on her vacation and not how it would impact your home search while she was gone, you had no way to know that you were crossing any lines you should not cross. 

Ugh…communication is hard. It is clear from his reaction that he ASSUMED you did NOT have an agent, but failed to directly ask you if you were working with another agent before agreeing to show you the home. If he had not assumed and had asked you the question about your agent then my guess is your experience would have been completely different. You would have still seen the house, however your relationship with him would have been defined before you ever met and he would have had no unspoken expectation of “picking you up” as a buyer which led to his “stern” response to setting you up on a search. I hope this all makes sense.  Assumptions and unasked questions are the two biggest culprits of communication breakdown and conflict!

One of the unwritten rules in real estate is that you, as the buyer, should only look at homes with the agent you plan on using to help you purchase your home. But how are you to know this “unwritten” rule?

One of the unwritten rules in real estate is that you, as the buyer, should only look at homes with the agent you plan on using to help you purchase your home. But how are you to know this “unwritten” rule? Frankly, your agent should have explained this to you and arranged for one of her colleagues to show you property in her absence. My assumption is she was probably only focused on her vacation and not how the vacation might impact your house hunting!

Funny how even the simplest things can become cumbersome and confusing. There is a small life lesson in your question about assumptions and unasked questions! Best of luck and I hope the perfect home is just around the corner!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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