Buying a home is an exciting time in anyone’s life. Whether it’s your first time or seventh time around, it’s always a new adventure filled with fun surprises and fresh starts. With that comes the first question: How do I start? This is where most people turn to a real estate agent, but maybe this time you want to try things a little differently. Buying homes without an agent isn’t impossible, and if you want to know how to go about it, check out these tips to help you learn more about the process and to see if buying a home without an agent is right for you:
*You need to first start by doing your research. Look up how much homes are selling for, and find the homes that follow the parameters of what you want in a house. Compare different prices and find out why certain houses are selling for certain amounts. Look at location, schools, traffic, crime, the year each home was built, etc. Before you make an offer, you want to ensure that you have all the necessary information so you get the best bang for your buck. You don’t want to miss out on a great deal simply because you did not acquire the necessary information.
*Home inspectors! It can seem like a good idea to just open up a phone book (or, more likely, Google search) to find a home inspector in your local area. If you search online you can even find reviews and ratings, right? Well, if you can help it, try to find a home inspector through someone who know who will give you the best price. Sometimes reviews and ratings can be a little misleading--you don’t know if the reviews were from the home inspector’s mom and uncles. Get a recommendation from someone you trust and then go from there. It can end up saving you money.
*When you are ready to make an offer, be sure to give yourself safety nets. Simply put, you want an escape plan if things go south without the risk of getting sued or getting into any financial or legal troubles. You want to be able to get a deposit back that you put down, for instance, if the house turns out not to be what you thought it was going to be.
*You may not have a real estate agent, but how about a real estate lawyer? Hiring a lawyer for around $500 or so to look over your contract before you sign anything can save you a lot of money, pain, and heartache in the long run. You can ask them their opinion on the contract and have them make sure everything looks good for you. Paying a couple or even a few hundred dollars for this service is well worth the money.
*When you buy the house, make sure the seller does not pay for a title insurance policy. Make sure you are safe from that and cover yourself from any problems in that area. You want your contract to be clean and free from any impediments.
The above tips are a great place to start if you want to go ahead without an agent involved. You should also remember that going without an agent is not for everyone, though. In fact, most people still opt for having a real estate agent help them on their journey. Only 10% to 20% of home buyers opt to go alone, at least partially alone. If you are working with “For Sale By Owner” home sellers, chances are they still seek advice and guidance from a real estate agent. As for the home buyer’s agent, that’s a whole other issue. Many For-Sale-By-Owners will work with homebuyers who have a real estate agent and will pay a commission to said agent. However, this is not always the case. There are some FSBOs who do not want a real estate agent involved at all.
Remember to consider all your options. Do you want an agent involved at all? Do you want to ask for advice and seek guidance? Are you okay with paying commission to a real estate agent if you decide on one after all if you are buying from someone who isn’t using an agent? These are all important questions to consider. So, before starting on your home buying journey, figure out exactly what your parameters are and decide where you are willing to have a little leeway here or there. There are pros and cons to having agents involved or not, so choose which path is right for you (and remember that it does not have to be all or nothing either--if you want to seek help from the advice of a real estate agent, you should feel free to). Above all, just do your research, be thorough, and enjoy the experience.