When you’re looking for a home to buy, you’ll mostly encounter homes that are for sale through a real estate agent. However, sometimes you may find a home that is for sale by owner. You might even know someone who is interested in their home.
Although it might seem like buying a home directly from the owner would be a simple process, this isn’t always the case. Here are some key things to keep in the back of your mind when you’re looking at a for sale by owner home.
1. Most sellers will work with your buyer’s agent.
Smart people who are selling their homes know that buyers generally work with a buyer’s agent for a period of time, and they will plan to give the buyer’s agent compensation like other sellers would.
Buyer’s agents are there to act as an advisor throughout the whole home buying process. If a for sale by owner home crosses your path, you should ask your agent to reach out to the seller first. Most of the time, they can work for you and still get paid for their work.
2. You shouldn’t think the home is any different than others on the market.
A great home is a great home, regardless of who is selling it. If you find for sale by owner home that meets all of your must-haves, then why wouldn’t you want to buy it? The main thing you want to remember is that you’ll be meeting the owner face to face, so be prepared for an emotional encounter. Let’s face it, selling a home is going to be an emotional process and that could be an uncomfortable situation if when you go through the house and you start making remarks regarding their design choices or what you want to change.
3. Laws still apply to a for sale by owner home.
If the law in your area stipulates that the seller has to disclose any problems, inspect the home, or make any repairs, the for sale by owner must comply.
The problem is that some sellers aren’t familiar with the whole real estate process or procedures—or they just want to do things their own way. In situations like that, you should trust your gut, as well as your agent’s judgment. If you get the feeling that the seller isn’t doing what they should be, don’t be afraid to call them out on it or walk away. Sometimes it could be a blessing in disguise.
4. Pricing could be off.
For sale by owner homes generally have one thing in common—the owners reject their local agents’ opinion of the value of the home. All sellers tend to have a hard time to emotionally detach from their home may self-sabotage the sale of their home because they’ll overprice the home.
If you look at the comparable homes in the area and the for sale by owner home you love is dramatically higher than the others, don’t get suckered into paying way more than you should. There are other houses out there, for sale by owner or not.