We asked, and you all came out in droves to share your best responses. Here are our favorites objection handlers for “I want to look at houses, but I don’t want to commit to a specific agent.” (Stay tuned for a new survey question Wednesday!)

Last week, we surveyed readers for their best objection handlers to buyers when they say: “I want to look at houses, but I don’t want to commit to a specific agent.”

The overwhelming number of responses lead us to a lot of good material, including showcasing what you can do for buyers, painting a picture of all the services agents provide and flat out moving on.

Here are our favorite responses. Try out the ones you like the next time you come up against a non-committal buyer.

Ask not what you can do for me …

  • I hear you. It can be a daunting proposition that will impact one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Let me ask you this: Do you feel you have the grasp on the market to know you’re getting the best value possible for your new home? Are you prepared? Will you have the time to manage all the moving parts and negotiation points in our state’s 17-page contract to buy and sell real estate — and hit all the deadlines on time? Would you like someone to handle all of this for you? If you will commit to me, I will ensure you get the greatest value possible, and I will manage the entire transaction from execution to closing for you. Do you feel that would be of value to you? Would you like to hire me as your agent?

  • I have access to all the most relevant information and properties entering the market. Let me show you how I work by supplying you with a list of homes based on your criteria and taking you to a few to point out pros and cons. Then you can decide if working with one agent who is committed just to your success in purchasing makes sense.
  • No worries, everyone I talk to is at a different place in the customer life-cycle, I am here to help assist you along the way in the best capacity. To better help you, shoot me straight: What is holding you back from committing to an agent right now? As far as responses go, you can get anything on the spectrum of “I’m waiting on my real estate license so I can do it myself,” all the way to discomfort in their own capacity to purchase like, “I’m not sure what I can afford.” Once you draw out the true objection, address it, and qualify them. Make sure you set a clear plan to follow-up so you don’t become the nagging sales person and close the deal. Or qualify the bad prospects out because ain’t nobody got time for that.

  • I’m committed to beating the bushes for you, including networking with other agents and engaging FSBOs to find properties which match your criteria. What do you hope to gain by using multiple agents?

  • I understand that you may not want to commit to an agent. But keep in mind, even when we are not looking at houses, I am still working for you. Also anytime we talk about specifics, we legally have to have an agency agreement in place.

  • Looking at homes and buying one in this market requires a business expert who can get you to the finish line. As your agent, you can be assured that will happen because my sole goal is to take transactions to the finish line.

  • Every buyer needs an advocate to guide them in determining market price for homes of interest, and in negotiating. If you are planning to purchase through the listing agent, STOP! Even the most ethical listing agents have difficulty representing both buyer and seller simultaneously. Under dual agency representation is limited. As your buyer’s agent, I am able to represent you in full, putting your interests before my own!

  • My services are free, however, if you talk to a listing agent, know that he or she works for the seller. Without representation, you are at a disadvantage in the market. Each conversation you have with a listing agent can hurt your negotiation if you decide to buy that house. My agreement stops when you want to stop.

Explain the contract

  • I completely understand. You don’t know me yet, so you don’t know how much you’re going to love working with me! We can sign this buyer agency agreement for a year, a week or a day. Or we don’t have to sign it at all. We can still see houses today. But know that if you choose to not sign, then I am technically working for the seller, not for you. I then follow that with an example of how I would answer the same question from them differently if I were their agent versus if I were a subagent of the seller.

  • I would suggest that you hire just one agent to help you find the home of your dreams by having them sign an employment contract called a buyer-broker agreement

  • I completely understand, however, please know that as long as you and I do not have a representation agreement, technically my role is as a subagent for the seller. Therefore, I cannot give you any information about this house that would not be in the seller’s favor. Did you know that representation agreements can be signed for shorter lengths of time, down to even a single day, or can even be signed for just a particular property?

  • I overcome this objection by reviewing the buyer rep agreement clause that allows for the relationship to be terminated in writing by either party. I reiterate “If we aren’t a match for one another, I can fire you. And you can fire me. I am doubtful this will happen because of my focus on being of service to my clients.” Then I hand over the pen for signing.

Point to the numbers

  • According to NAR 91 percent of sellers work with a Realtor, and I have access to all those listings. That means in addition to the 150 homes currently for sale that meet your needs, there could be about 14 that are off-market listings. Because of my relationships with other agents and the networks I belong to, I get notice about many of these. Keep in mind that there are 10,000 agents in our market place. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to make yourself crazy trying to meet with all of them just to uncover the few that I might not be privy to, right?
  • If not me, I hope you’ll make a commitment to just one agent that you like and trust. We can always tell when a client is working with other agents, and instead of two or three agents giving you 100 percent effort, you’ll be lucky if any of them bothers to give you 10 percent of their time.

  • We are in the middle of such a listing shortage, that the average home sale has at least three competing offers. Some listings don’t even make it on the MLS before an offer comes in; they sell to a buyer who has made a commitment to an agent, and that agent has also made a commitment to that buyer. If I know you are working with everyone in town, you are not the first call I make when a great listing comes on the market.

  • The data shows that buyers who work with an agent end up paying much less than buyers who act on their own. Further, in order to get an agent to commit to finding you the best deal, you must commit to a specific agent.

Paint a picture

  • I can understand that, and I will agree to show you homes just this once. But after that, we can each decide if we want to work together. It’s kind of like dating. After that, if you want to move forward with me, I will need a buyer-broker agreement signed. After all, this is how I keep a roof over my head. Does that make sense for you?
  • If you were going to a doctor or lawyer, wouldn’t you expect them to take a personal interest in your situation? An agent who represents a buyer or seller committed to a client has a fiduciary duty to represent the client’s best interests at all times — not just open a door!

  • I will want to understand more about why you don’t want to commit to a specific agent. But think of it this way: Committing to an agent or not committing to an agent is similar to the difference between reserved seating and general seating at a concert. If you want the very best experience, you buy a reserved seat in the front row. If you want a so-so experience, you buy a general admission ticket. Buying a home should be a front row experience!

  • Showing homes is a small part of the process. By partnering with an agent, you have an advocate who knows your interests, budget and some background information that you might not have access to. By going it alone, you are a tourist without a map.

  • The relationship between a Realtor and a client is a partnership. As a partner, each party will do whatever is in the best interest of the other person. We do our best for those who commit to us. It is in your best interest to have your own representative.

  • When you start looking at homes with people, you start to understand not only what they like, but also what their pet peeves are, such as a master bathroom without a separate toilet. I try to explain to buyers that by working with one agent, we can work together to find them the best home.

  • You know, Realtors are extensively trained, licensed and bonded experts. We provide attorney-like, legal expertise and services to help people buy and sell real estate. If you met with an attorney and told him that you would like to discuss an issue and get his advice, you would expect to pay him for that legal advice, wouldn’t you? Of course, you would. Realtors offer legal services with the promise that we will be compensated when our clients finally close on the purchase of a property. And the interesting thing is that compensation comes from the sellers, not from you, the buyers. So, any Realtor who would show houses to buyers without their commitment is very likely a desperate and inexperienced agent.

  • If you were going to list your house for sale, would you sign a listing contract with an agent? Of course you would. No agent would spend his or her time, money and expertise listing, marketing and selling your home without a promise to be compensated. The same goes with buyers. No experienced, high-performing agent would research, show properties, write and negotiate legal documents, and offer advice without a contract to be compensated when a sale finally occurs. Does that make sense. So, if you would like my professional expertise, we’ll need to make promises to one another. Would you like my expertise?

  • Hmmm. Really? Can I ask you why? (Listen to the response.) OK, thanks for that. You know, Realtors are licensed and bonded experts in helping people find and buy homes. But not all Realtors have the same experience, skills, judgment and success record. So, I understand your hesitancy to commit to me right now. At the same time, I simply can’t afford to provide the type of service that I offer my clients, and my time — which is my most valuable asset — to someone without some assurance that in the end I’ll actually get paid for my time, expertise and services. So, we’re actually committing to each other — but only to the extent of the homes we review together.

Win ’em over

  • No problem. Let’s take a look at some homes, and if you aren’t completely sold on me after that meeting, I am fine with us parting as friends. But, if you see the value in what I offer after we meet, wouldn’t you agree it is fair for us to commit to each other then?

  • It doesn’t take 10 agents to find you the right home. It only takes one really good one, and you are already talking to him!
  • No problem, let’s meet and see a house or two and go from there.

  • I am happy to show you homes. I’ll ask that after we see homes, if you think I am a good fit for you, we establish an agreement so that I can be working for you.

  • I appreciate that. I will give you one day, and if, after that day, you do not want to work with me, then we will respectfully part ways. If you do, then you’ll agree to sign a buyer’s agency agreement to work exclusively with me.

Give it time

  • I can understand where you’re coming from. We just met. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. How about we meet for a consultation, so we can both get to know each other, and then we can spend a day touring homes. This will be as a courtesy on me. I won’t ask for any commitment until the second time we start to tour homes. If it works out then great! If not, then we move on.

  • As a professional agent I have access to both on and off-market listings. I am happy to devote my time to finding you the right property, but as you may know, Realtors are not paid hourly, only upon a sale. I hope you can appreciate that I don’t work for free, so when you are ready to name me as your agent I am ready to help you.

  • You don’t have to. In order to protect your interests and make clear the brokerage responsibilities to you, I will need to be designated as your agent for any property I show you.

That’s a hard pass

  • I’d love to work with you, but in order to for me to invest my time and expertise I ask that you sign a BRA even if it’s just for the properties that we see today. If that’s not possible, then thank you for the opportunity, but I’ll have to pass.

  • My first question: “Why is that?” There are some personalities who believe that they can negotiate on their behalf better than anyone else, including an experienced agent. Experience has taught me that it may be a better business decision for me to let these types go. They tend to be neither loyal nor appreciative.

  • I can’t show you unless you’re committed to me.

  • I appreciate your concern, an agent is there to work on your behalf to provide knowledge and show you homes that will be the best possible properties for you. By not committing to an agent, you are potentially wasting valuable time by looking at homes that are not a good fit for a variety of reasons. Personally, I will not work with buyers who are unwilling to commit to an agent as my time and expertise is extremely valuable.

  • I am happy to speak with you about one house, if you do not choose to work with me, I will be unable to show you homes. It is a liability for me.


  • Then how do expect an agent to commit to you, to work hard for you, to work to get your a great home at a great price, to guide you through the process? Why would an agent spend hours of their time with you with no commitment on your part?
  • Good luck! Any legitimate agent would require you to commit.
  • Then I guess you aren’t serious about buying a house.
  • Without a signed buyers rep, I work for the seller as will everyone else you talk to.
  • You will need a specific agent to write and negotiate an offer.
  • You won’t get the best results that way.

Did we miss anything? If you have a great objection handler for “I want to look at houses, but I don’t want to commit to an agent,” please share in the comments below.

Editor’s note: These responses were given anonymously and therefore are not attributed to anyone specifically. Responses were also edited for grammar and clarity. Inman doesn’t endorse any specific method, and regulations may change from state to state. 

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