Peak homebuying season is quickly approaching, and you may notice for sale signs sprouting up in every yard! If you’ve already started searching for a new home, you may have noticed a few homes listed as For Sale by Owner, or FSBO. A property listed as FSBO, is exactly what it sounds like—a home that is being sold by its owner without the representation of a real estate agent.
If you found an FSBO home and you’re ready to purchase, you might be wondering where to start. If you’ve already established your home search with a real estate agent, don’t worry—most sellers are happy to work with an agent. They’ll have the peace of mind that paperwork is handled correctly, and an agent will help streamline the process in case any issues arise.
However, if you’ve decided to purchase a home directly from the owner sans a real estate agent, it’s important to be prepared for any challenges that may arise. Although, if you find your dream home, it may be worth the extra effort in the long run!
Do Your Research
Often times, sellers surpass working with a real estate agent to avoid having to pay out a commission. With this in mind, it’s likely that they’re trying to get top dollar for their dwelling. This could make negotiations a bit tricky. So make sure to do extensive research to find out how much comparable homes in the area have recently sold for before you make your offer. You’ll also want to research the surrounding neighborhoods to ensure there’s nothing you’re missing beyond the house. Doing your research before approaching the buyers can help you rule out a bad purchase or help you prepare for negotiations.
Ask the Right Questions
Protect yourself by asking the right questions before putting an offer on a home. Questions like ‘Why are you selling?’, ‘Any problems with the house in the past?’, and ‘Has the home had major repairs or renovations?’ is a smart way to get the seller to open up about the property’s history. If a seller is not willing to answer these questions, it could be a red flag!
Hire a Lawyer
Unless you’re highly experienced with drafting contracts and reviewing extensive paperwork, you should leave this job to the professionals. Hiring a lawyer will help you draft contracts and offer advice where it’s necessary when you’re buying a home.
Schedule Proper Inspections
Without the assistance of a real estate agent, you’ll be responsible for determining what type of inspections you need to perform. You should ask around for recommendations on contractors so you hire an experienced professional. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with not-so-obvious signs that could point to bigger issues like wall cracks that could indicate foundation problems, or leaks that could mean plumbing issues or mold.
Find a Lender That Works for You
Most times a real estate professional will recommend their buyers to a loan officer that they know are experienced and will get the job done right. Unless you already have a lender in mind, you’ll need to find a loan officer that will help the homebuying process be a smooth, memorable transaction. A loan officer is a crucial part of the homebuying process, so be sure you find one that’s a good fit for your specific needs. Here’s our suggestions on how to find one that works for you.
Buying a home directly from a seller without the help of a real estate professional isn’t impossible to do, but it certainly comes with its hurdles. However, if done right, it can save buyers money and be a fulfilling process to complete on your own!