How to Buy a For Sale by Owner Home

homes for sale by owner

From time to time, you might encounter a home listed ‘For Sale by Owner’ (FSBO). And while you might assume that an FSBO home without real estate agents involved would simplify the buying process, it’s not necessarily true. Here’s how to buy a for sale by owner home.

Ask your agent to make the first contact

Smart home sellers know that most buyers work closely with a buyer’s agent for weeks, if not months or years. So they’ll plan to compensate the buyer’s agent just like any other seller would.

Buyer’s agents act as advisers through the ups and downs of the home search. If an FSBO opportunity crosses your path, ask your agent to make the first contact. Most likely, they can still work for you and get paid for their efforts.

Don’t think differently about the home

If you find a great home in a prime location that meets all of your criteria, don’t think of it as any different if it’s listed FSBO rather than by an agent.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you’ll meet the owner face-to-face. Because buying a home can involve more emotions than, say, buying a car, seeing the owner might make you uncomfortable.

Try to get past it and keep your eye on the prize: your dream home. Work closely with your agent. And ask for time alone in the home if you need it.

Trust your gut

If the law stipulates that the seller has a duty to disclose problems, inspect the home, or perform any repairs, the FSBO seller must cooperate.

The problem some sellers have with going solo is that they aren’t familiar with real estate processes or procedures. Or they want to do it their own way.

Trust your gut and your agent’s judgment if you think the seller is neglecting a duty or not allowing you to do your due diligence. And keep in mind that even if the home is great, it might not be the right opportunity for you. If it doesn’t feel right, move on.

Move on if the price isn’t right

Homeowners who list their home themselves tend to share one thing in common: They reject local agents’ opinions about their home’s value. Sellers (FSBO or not) who aren’t able to emotionally detach from a home or who don’t have a solid plan post-closing sometimes self-sabotage their sale by overpricing.

These sellers typically meet with local agents before they list. But they don’t like the agent’s pricing strategy and want to give it a try themselves.

Sometimes, when they fail to sell solo, they enlist the help of an agent, and get the home on the market at the right price. Why? Because when it comes time to get serious, sellers often want representation.

But if you love a home, and the price is off, move on to the next, whether listed by owner or agent.

A home for sale without an agent isn’t off limits. Ask your agent about the listing, and be open to seeing it and treating it just like any other opportunity you or your agent finds.

A good real estate pro should tell you up front that they could represent you in any sale. Go in with your eyes wide open and know that, just like any negotiation, it may or may not work out.

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