Q: My wife and I have recently started the very early stages of looking for a home. Since we didn’t know what we wanted, we drove around our area to a few new home communities to see the models they had to offer.

In your book “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask,” you mention that if you visit a new home community and do not sign in under the broker’s name you may not be able to bring a buyer’s agent into the deal later.

At the time we drove around, we didn’t have a broker. We were just looking for ourselves. Now, we’ve decided we do need an agent, but haven’t chosen one yet.

Once we select an agent will we have trouble getting the developer to recognize that we are now represented by a buyer’s agent?

A: You may indeed have problems bringing in a broker now, because the development could argue that you were unagented when you first saw the property.

The way to counter this is to state politely, but firmly, that if the development will not recognize your agent, you will not buy a home there. Tell the development’s sales associate that you very much like the community, but wouldn’t think of buying something without the assistance of an agent.

While the real estate market may be hot in your area, most developers won’t want to see a potential sale walk away over the buyer’s share of the sales commission (which the developer has already budgeted for).

Of course, if the developer refuses to budge, you’ll have to make a decision about whether you want to buy in a community where the developer treats buyers that way.

Jan. 19, 2009.