Buying a House Without Agents. What You Should Know About Homes For Sale By Their Owners

Many sellers do not want to list their home with an agent because they must pay the fees to both their agent, and the buyers. Oftentimes on a house hunt, you will see a home that is “For Sale by Owner.” If you see a home that interests you that is being sold by this method, it is normal to wonder how what the difference is, and how to go about it. Buying a home that is for sale by the owner can have its challenges, because you won’t have the benefit of working with a realtor. Here is some advice on how to go about a home listed for sale directly by the owner.

If you have been working with a realtor while looking at other properties, but have set your eyes on one that is For Sale by Owner, you will not be able to ask your realtor for help. They work on commission, and in these types of deals, they can’t help. It is also against their license.

Agents work with other licensed professionals such as home inspectors and appraisers to help you see if you are not only making a good choice, but a good investment, because that’s what a home is, its an investment. They increase and decrease in value. Know that with a FSBO home, you are going in it alone.

Before you start looking at houses, you should get a pre-approval letter from a mortgage company. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is surprising how many first time home buyers don’t realize this. This letter is extremely important because it lets the seller know that you can afford to purchase the house. It also is a great way to negotiate. If another interested party doesn’t have a letter, they’ll put you first.

A realtor is often called the middleman. Because you will no longer have one, you are going to be directly communicating with the homeowner yourself. Without realtors involved, the owner will be showing you the property. This can make a buyer very uncomfortable being you are being hovered over, which makes it difficult for you to really give thought to details as you walk around, while you have someone breathing down your neck. Be sure to examine all little things. 

When you purchase a house through the owner, it is risky. Home inspections are a very important step to not overlook, as there can be hidden problems that were unknown, or, problems that were known by the seller but omitted altogether.

You really should have a real estate attorney help you through the sales contract. In some states, it actually is mandatory that a real estate attorney handle the transfer documents and closing. Be sure that you are properly represented. Your attorney can ensure that your contract contains contingencies to enable you to back out of the contract, for example if there are problems found during the home inspection, appraisal or with liens.

One thought on “Buying a House Without Agents. What You Should Know About Homes For Sale By Their Owners

  1. Ben

    Always hire your OWN inspector when buying a house. The seller is going to choose someone who they have a relationship with already, that will favor them more. Choose your own inspector, so you can get a more accurate report on what you’re actually dealing with regarding the house.

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