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I'm hesitant to talk to a real estate agent because it is possible (minimally possible) that we will purchase a new development and I would hate to waste anyone's time.

By all means go to open houses. They *may* give you a good idea of what's available at what price. I also suggest logging on to and looking at some local listings. It's an easy way to get a rough feel for what's out there without 'wasting' anyone's time but your own. Drive by some of the listings you find. You will have no idea what they're like INSIDE, but you can get a feel for neighborhoods and price ranges pretty quickly this way.

You will find most posters here advocate finding a buyer's agent to represent you. IMO it all depends on your level of comfort in dealing with the process yourself. That being said, even if you DO purchase new I'm pretty sure there is a provision for a buyer's agent commission built-in. (Could someone more experienced with housing developments please chime in on this for me?) I don't think a real estate agent would consider it a bother to show you some pre-owned houses unless you're SURE you'll be buying new even if there is no such provision.

Do a search here for 'buyer's agent' for lots of information regarding what they are, what they do, and whether you need one. IMO you should not sign a buyer's agency agreement until the agent has shown you at least a few houses so you can get a feel for how well you 'click' with them. Other important considerations are how experienced they are, whether they deal mostly with sellers or buyers (if they have a lot of their own listings, they may be too busy for you), and whether they do this full or part time.

Best of luck,


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