Looking around gated communities
August 21, 2011 9:30 AM Subscribe
Are there reasonable (and legit) workarounds for looking around gated communities without a real estate agent?
posted by sharding to home & garden (9 answers total)
We're fairly early in our exploration of neighborhoods where we might want to buy a house in a year or two. There is a really broad range of areas we're considering. Part of our process of narrowing it down is finding house listings on Redfin that meet our high level criteria, and driving to them to see what the neighborhood is like, etc. (Streetview is great, but still no substitute for checking it out in person). However, we've found that many of the neighborhoods we're interested in happen to be gated communities, which makes it hard to go inside and get a feel for them.
Obviously we could just wait for someone else to go in and follow them, but that seems kind of shady (I know if I were them, I'd be uncomfortable if someone did that). We don't really want to get a real estate agent involved quite yet. For one thing, we're so far out from buying that it seems premature (and not a good use of their time). But more importantly, we'd like to work with an agent who is very familiar with the area we choose to buy in, and right now our interests are so broad that no one person could cover that. Finally, while we are finding listings of houses for sale, odds that we'd actually buy one of those are very low since our timeline is so long. Viewing houses we have no intention of actually buying seems a little lame (if nothing else, it's not very respectful to the sellers to traipse through their house without considering buying it).
Has anyone else run across this, and how did you deal with it? Are we just SOL until we're ready to work with an agent?