You can very easily get inundated with real estate agents trying to get in touch with you to show you properties.

QUESTION: I want to try and buy a home this year and have been looking online at different homes and condos in my area and even other towns to get an idea on price and what I can afford. The online listings and photos are helpful, but sometimes I want to find out more information about a listing or possibly even see it in person.

I contacted the agent who listed the property online to find out more information, but now I have so many different agents contacting me, some of them who were not even listed on the property. I am just browsing and not ready to formally start my search.

How do you deal with all of these online agents? Am I supposed to deal with a different agent every time I want to see a property?

ANSWER: There are many, many websites now where homebuyers can browse properties. In fact, most homebuyers now start their search online. It is a convenient way to peruse a number of properties and fine tune your search.

Many of these websites will list the name of the company and agent listing the property with their contact information. But that person may not actually be the listing agent.

Other websites give you the option to fill in your name and email and phone number to get more information about a property. But when you fill out this form, your name and info does not always go to the listing agent or may go to other agents in addition to the listing agent. You can very easily get inundated with real estate agents trying to get in touch with you to show you properties.

To avoid confusion and getting overwhelmed by real estate agents trying to contact you, use the Internet to browse properties. Bookmark the ones you like, want more information about or want to see in person. Then hire a real estate agent to take you to the next level of your search.

You can show your agent the properties you are interested in and also view other properties the agent may think fit your search criteria.

Once you contact a listing agent on a property on your own and then decide to hire your own agent to view property listings, the listing agent may not allow you to bring your own agent and in fact may claim you are the listing agent’s client. This can create problems.

Better to use the Internet as just a starting tool.

Linda Goodspeed is a longtime real estate writer and author of “In and out of Darkness.” Email her at: lrgoodspeed@comcast.net.