By Sarah Sharkey

As you shop for a home, you’ll likely have to tour several before deciding on the right one. Traditionally, that meant matching up your schedule with a real estate agent to make several meetings to tour potential homes. Today, you can schedule a home tour without a real estate agent, and it can save you significant time. Here’s how.

Can you tour a home without an agent?

First thing’s first: It is absolutely possible to tour a house without a real estate agent or real estate agent. While it’s more common to schedule a tour through your buyer’s agent, in some cases, you can tour a home without the buyer’s agent present. In rarer cases, you might have the opportunity to tour a home without anyone present. 

Three ways to view a home without a real estate agent

  1. 3D online tours Take advantage of the 3D virtual tours or walkthrough videos available on listing websites. While they aren’t always a substitute for an in-person visit, these tours allow you to look beyond the still pictures online to see if you’re interested in the property. 
  2. Online scheduling Some listing websites allow you to schedule a tour online, so you contact the listing agent via the site and set up a time for a walkthrough. You can also use Opendoor to set up a tour with an on-demand assistant. If Opendoor owns the property, you can also choose to self-tour the property without anyone else present. 
  3. Open houses A third way to tour homes without a real estate agent is through an open house. The biggest benefit of an open house is that you can walk through without an appointment.

Should you buy a house without a real estate agent?

If you’re touring homes without a real estate agent, you might be considering buying one without the help of a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent is a licensed real estate professional and member of the National Association of Realtors. Note that not all real estate agents are Realtors but are equally qualified, with specialized knowledge about the local market and how to help you find a home and negotiate the price. Regardless of designation, you’ll be working with a buyer’s agent, so here are some considerations to make:

When does working with a real estate agent make sense?

  • You need help with market research. A real estate agent provides you with expertise about the current local market, so if you don’t have an understanding of conditions in your area, you might want to work with a professional to get this insight.
  • You want help with the negotiations. The art of negotiation is a tricky skill to learn, and most of us don’t have this talent finely honed. It’s usually worth it to work with someone who has experience negotiating day in and day out.
  • You don’t want to navigate the paperwork alone. The closing process is really an extended paperwork process that can drag out without a clear understanding of the documents involved. A real estate agent can help you decipher these and close the deal quicker.

When does it make sense to skip working with a real estate agent?

  • You’ve bought multiple properties. If you’ve purchased many properties in the past and understand the process, you might be able to navigate the ups and downs of a transaction without the help of a real estate agent. 
  • You have a team of other professionals in place. If you’ve hired an inspector you trust, a real estate attorney you can depend on — and potentially a contractor, if work needs to be done — you could make things work without a real estate agent.

Takeaways

It’s possible to tour a home without a real estate agent by viewing 3D online tours or walkthroughs, scheduling a tour online, or attending open houses. You can even buy a home without working with a real estate agent if you have experience with the process and are comfortable navigating a transaction on your own.

This article is also posted on Bankrate here.