Etiquette question - working with a RE agent

Long version (TLDR version at end):

A big question in my divorce is who will keep the house I’m living in now. Without a property appraisal, an understanding of HI law re divorce, etc., it wasn’t clear to me at first whether I’d want to keep it. A couple of months ago I met with a real estate agent to figure out my options for buying a different house. We looked at stuff on line; turns out there are plenty of options in my price range, which was extremely useful info.

As an old-school househunter (my STBX husband and I last purchased property in 2002 and 2010) I am used to touring properties with my agent. I was psyched to take an on-site look at the most promising properties. But with the internet, property searches have clearly changed. The agent made it clear she wouldn’t put herself out for actual physical visits until I knew for sure I was in the market to buy, which was totally fine by me; I don’t want to waste her time.

Well, weeks have passed, I know a lot more about how the divorce will go, and now I am ready to look seriously. But thanks to the internet, I don’t really need the agent to find potential candidates. I’ve just found a place (by my own search, not the agent’s, though I am guessing it will appear in the next tranche of candidates she emails me) that I want to look at for real. I don’t know if I am supposed to call the agent and ask her to set up a viewing, or contact the seller myself for now. I don’t intend to cut the agent out of the deal; I welcome her help when I deal with the ins and outs of closing the sale. But do I include her in my first tour of the properties that catch my interest, or just DIY and let her know when I’m serious about one?

TLDR: I have talked to a a RE agent and I am looking around at possible houses to buy. When I find a candidate, do I ask the agent to set up a viewing or do I just do that by contacting the seller’s agent, and only involve my agent when I’m getting serious about making an offer?

If you’re ready to start looking, call the agent. If they still act like they expect you to do the work alone, then get another agent. Your agent absolutely should walk through the houses with you, as well as help you search, negotiate, and so on.

Your agent is going to get the money whether she starts early or late in the negotiation. So why not make use of her? It will be easier to negotiate the house tour with her than by yourself. And she might have some inside info that could reduce the price. The house we bought had been on and then off the market, and when we found that out from our agent it helped reduce the price. (That was pre-internet but I’m not sure that info is easily available.)

Whatever you do, don’t contact the RE agent of the house you want to buy! They are legally obligated to represent the home seller.

Google Search for “Buyer’s Agent” to find useful advice on getting a RE agent that doesn’t have a vested interest in making the home seller more money.

One Example:

Most definitely work through your agent, that’s what an “agent” is for. Once you have engaged an agent to help with buying, that agent, using their network of fellow agents, they will make themselves knowledgeable about homes on the market, and homes that are just getting ready to be on the market. Often the sellers agent will have “agent’s only” showings early in the process, so there is some chance that your agent may have already walked through the property.

Thanks all. I will give my agent the MLS #s of the properties that have caught my eye, and let her set something up.