Buying Houses for Sale by Owner

Happy Young Family who bought a house for sale by owner In front of their new home with a "sold" sign
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Home buying can be a complicated, expensive and confusing process. Buyers face a fast-paced marketplace, competing bids, getting qualified for a loan, and coming up with a down payment. And of course don’t forget the paperwork, dealing with inspections and other contract to close steps. But, finally finding and snagging the right home makes it all worthwhile. Savvy home buyers know they can save money by buying houses for sale by owner with the help of a flat fee service to help them cover all the steps. Let’s see how buying a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) home is easier than you think and can save you money on the price of your new home.

Advantages of Buying a For Sale by Owner Home

Buyers and sellers are attracted to FSBO for a number of reasons.

 ●     Competitive pricing – An FSBO home generally will be priced slightly lower than a home represented by a realtor. This is because the seller is not paying the selling agent commission and so has leeway in pricing the home and still getting at least as much out of it as a fully commissioned sale. Since a seller may pay up to 6% of the sales price to the real estate agents involved, the savings may amount to many thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

●     Direct contact with seller – who knows the home better than the seller? You can get a full tour and ask questions so you have more information about the house than you might get with a third party realtor showing it to you.

●     Negotiate! – Dealing with the homeowner, you may be able to negotiate a better price, or freebies thrown in, such as the cost of appraisal, inspections or repairs, that a seller’s real estate agent may not be willing to do. After all, the FSBO seller is saving a lot of money on real estate commissions.

●     Save time – With an FSBO sale, there’s no waiting around for callbacks from real estate agents. Steps can be simplified and will move faster than with a traditional sale.

Disadvantages of Buying FSBO

When you buy a home FSBO and try to handle all the steps yourself, you may find there are some downsides, especially if you are a first time buyer unfamiliar with buying a home.

  • Seller may inflate the value of the home – less experienced sellers may price a home for the amount they want, not what it is really worth. You can overcome this by doing your own homework on comparable home prices in the neighborhood. You can point out the error in pricing to the seller and see if he or she is willing to negotiate it down.
  • Dishonest disclosures – some sellers may not disclose problems to buyers in the hopes they can get away with not paying for repairs or lowering the home price. Always include a provision for pre-close inspections as a contingency in your offer for an FSBO home.
  • Paperwork and negotiations – We all know the home buying and selling process is complicated and can be daunting. You may be ready to negotiate price and concessions on your own, but if the thought bothers you, get help from a flat fee FSBO realtor like FSBO Virginia.  When it’s time to do paperwork, unless you are a real estate agent or attorney, don’t try to write the offer or handle the contract to closing paperwork and detail on your own. You can get low-cost help with the contract to closing paperwork with an FSBO realtor like us who can handle all the formalities for you and make sure it is correct, so you don’t have to worry.

Other Advice when Buying an FSBO home

A few things to remember as you shop for your FSBO home:

Proof you can pay for the home – One of the first steps before you begin to shop for a home is to get a prequalification letter from a lender showing how much loan you have been pre-approved for. This will give the seller confidence that your offer can be honored because you will be able to get the mortgage loan for a successful close. If you are buying a home for cash, get a proof of funds letter from your bank to provide to the seller with your offer.

Sales contract – Getting your agreed deal down on paper is important so that there won’t be any surprises as you and the seller go through the close process. If you are preparing the Sales contract, be sure to include the full names of the buyer(s) and seller(s) and the full property address, as well as the agreed selling price. Also include any contingencies, such as an appraisal, pest and structural inspections, selling your old home, etc. Indicate who is paying for each of these third party services. It’s also important to itemize any moveable items sold with the house, such as appliances, and list any repairs the seller has agreed to complete before closing. Finally choose a close date for the sale, allowing enough time for everything that needs to happen, including sale of your home and getting your mortgage through the funding process.

Property Disclosure form – be sure your seller includes a disclosure form listing all the features of the home and their condition. This is mandatory in all states, though the form may differ, and is important for you to get in writing the condition of the property before you buy. You can ask for a copy of the disclosure before you make an offer.

Friends and family – even if you are buying a home from a friend or family member, it’s still important to go through all the close steps so that the transaction will be properly titled and recorded. Take time to complete the normal inspections as you will learn a lot about any issues or features of the property that may be important to know after purchase.

 Preparing the offer and purchase agreement can be tricky, and errors can be expensive or cause the deal to fall through, so it is worth hiring a flat fee realtor to help prepare it correctly.  The terms of the offer determine the addendums and forms needed to prepare the offer correctly.

Click here for more considerations when buying a house for sale by owner.

Buying Houses For Sale by Owner with a Flat Fee FSBO Realtor

With our flat fee service for home buyers, we can take care of a lot of the details of home buying on your behalf. Here are some of the steps we can help you with:

  • Communicate with the seller on your behalf
  • Prepare the Offer to Buy
  • Prepare the Sales Contract for signatures
  • Help you find financing, if needed
  • Coordinate inspections and follow up
  • Make sure all closing requirements are met
  • Handle the escrow
  • Work with the title company
  • Prepare a checklist for you to meet the terms of the contract to get you to closing day
  • Help keep things on track and facilitate the close
  • We offer phone support to answer any questions you have along the way

FSBO Virginia offers all the services of a full service broker but you can choose which services you want to buy and pay only for those. Take a look at our home buyer close assistance options.

Home Buyer Rebate Program with FSBO in Virginia

Thinking of hiring a real estate agent to help you buy that home, whether it’s an FSBO home or a traditional listing? We have a program that can benefit you. Buyers in Virginia, DC or Maryland can take advantage of our home buyer rebate and take home cash at close. Here’s how it works.

If you decide you would like to work with a buyer agent on a home for sale that offers a commission, our buyer rebate program pays you ⅔ of the buyer commission we receive. Typically, the buyer agent commission is 3% of the home sales prices, so that means you take home up to 2% of the sales price in cash. We do the work, and you’ll get cash back at close. What’s better than that?

Is a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) Home in Your Future? Contact Us Today!

It’s easy to buy a house for sale by owner with so many FSBO home listings online and easy contract to close assistance services for both buyers and sellers from an FSBO flat fee realtor service. We are proud to offer a wide range of services and can help anyone without a real estate agent to buy or sell a home.

For more information on our services contact us today at 540-582-5777.

Author: Debbie Kent

Debbie Crevier-Kent began her career as a licensed Real Estate agent. Seeing the need for lower real estate selling costs, she created easy to use FSBO service packages, starting GoToFSBO.com in 1994. Ms. Crevier-Kent is a member FlatFeeGroup.com, Homesbyowner.com and FSBOpublishers.org and a member or NAR, NVAR, REIN, BRIGHT, WAAR, and CAAR

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