Searching for and finding homes online is easier than ever, and most buyers are finding their homes on their own. Whether you've already found the place you want to buy or have just started browsing properties online, you might be wondering if buying a house without a realtor is a good idea. Here's what you need to know.
Can You Buy A House Without A Realtor?
Absolutely. It's perfectly legal in all 50 states to buy a house without using a real estate agent on your end. However, most people don't want to do it, as buying a home is a complicated process that most folks are unfamiliar with. A real estate agent can streamline the process and ensure it goes smoothly.
Buying a house also involves significant risk as it's the most expensive purchase many will make. That means having a professional in your corner is a good idea, whether it be a realtor, a real estate attorney, or both.
How Do You Buy A House Without A Real Estate Agent?
The homebuying procedure is not a simple one, even if you do have professional help along the way. If you choose to get a home sans realtor, then you should expect to do the following:
- You will need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This is a must, even if you use a realtor.
- Then, you'll have to research the neighborhood and find a house that you want to buy. The first step is finding a home. That means you should be ready to search through hundreds or thousands of property listings. While this is easier to do than ever thanks to technology, it can still be a nightmare, especially if you are new to the area. But if you know where you want to live, you won't need an agent to help you search for properties.
- Find a property and reach out to the owner or listing agent. The owner (or their agent) will give you a tour of the home. If you like it and are interested in buying the house, you will need to make an offer.
- You will need to ask about seller disclosures. Seller disclosures will tell you known issues with the home, including things like structural damage or flooding. You also need to ask specific questions that may not be included in the disclosure if you live in a caveat emptor state. In most states, disclosures are given before submitting a formal offer to buy the home.
- Then, you have to put together the paperwork for an official offer. This will include the details about the title agency you will use, any contingencies, who will cover various fees, and the purchase price.
- Hiring a lawyer and appraiser will be on your task list if you need to negotiate. You also will need to negotiate with the seller if you notice anything that's amiss with the home. This step can include asking for repairs, changing the home price, or even deciding the let the deal fall through if things aren't working out.
- If all works out and you settle on a purchase price, it's time to close on the home. To finalize the purchase, you'll first have to close on any mortgage loan. When closing day comes, you'll do a final walk-through of the property before turning over the necessary checks. If you've hired a real estate attorney, they should be with you to ensure everything is in order.
Why Would You Choose To Go Without A Real Estate Agent?
The main reason people consider buying a home without using a real estate agent is the belief that it will save them money. We all know that realtors collect large commissions, and some buyers might feel that their agent hasn't done much work at all. After all, if you're a buyer who found the house yourself, most of your agent's work will be behind the scenes.
Will You Save Money Buying A House Without a Realtor?
In short, it probably won't. The truth is that if the seller is working with a realtor, that agent will likely just collect the commission your agent would. The savings are unlikely to be passed on to you.
Additionally, a good agent might actually save you money through their experience negotiating. If you want to save money when you buy a home, the best option would be to work with a realtor who will give you a buyer rebate. This is an excellent option for buyers who are comfortable searching for homes online.
Why Is It Better To Work With A Real Estate Agent?
Most people do not have the knowledge and experience that a real estate agent has. There are also many problems that can arise when you don't know how to navigate a home sale. This can lead to making serious mistakes in your offer, overlooking potentially life-ruining problems with the house, or not being able to push a deal through. While a real estate lawyer can help you avoid certain potential pitfalls, an agent will be your greatest ally if you need help. Their experience and knowledge alone are enough to make most people rely on a realtor.
When Should You Buy A House Without A Realtor?
Sometimes, it might really make sense to buy a house without a realtor. If you already are well-acquainted with the house, the neighborhood, the process, and the seller, you might be able to wing it. You can certainly save some money if you're dealing with a For Sale By Owner property as the seller will be more willing to pass along the savings of not having to offer a commission to a buyer's agent. However, the vast majority of home sales should not be done without the help of a realtor by your side.
Buying a house can be a risky endeavor. If you go it alone, you might make a costly mistake that you will regret later on. A real estate agent can offer volumes of knowledge that can help guide you through the process, help out with the paperwork, and just be the go-to person to find your dream home. Though they might be pricey, good real estate agents are worth every penny. That's why so many people rely on them to find their dream home.