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Buying Homes Directly From An Owner: Is It Dangerous?

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You may have seen ads for real estate that is put up "for sale by owner." Buying a home directly from an owner is more than possible, but there are some things you might want to consider in order to protect yourself.

Why Would Someone Sell Without an Agent?

As a buyer, the process of working with a real estate agent is nothing but bonuses. You don't pay for the agent, the seller does. There's the rub: many people want to sell their own homes because they don't want to hire a real estate agent. That doesn't, however, mean that they won't work with you if you have an agent.

The Dangers of Buying a Home Without an Agent

A seller may be selling a home without an agent because there are certain things that they don't want to discuss about the home. A few possibilities include:

  1. The property may not have the right permits. If it has features that are not permitted, these features may not be caught on a home inspection, and you could be left with a property that either needs to be heavily modified or is a tear-down.
  2. The property may not be priced correctly. The seller may have increased the listing price of their home and be attempting to sell it to those who don't know the appropriate price in the market.
  3. The property may not be in a good market. Even if the property itself is a solid one, it may be located in a neighborhood that is less than ideal for a variety of reasons, such as high crime rates.

These are all things that an agent is going to know, but that a home buyer may not.

Working With an Agent

Though an owner may not want to work with their own agent, they may still be willing to work with an agent. Be aware though that in order to negotiate this, you might need to pay the real estate agent yourself. At the same time, this is very likely to save you both time and money, and your agent can find you other properties to look at as well.

There are some very sensible reasons why someone might want to sell a home without an agent, but there's usually no reason for a buyer to purchase without one. If you want to buy a home, it's better to contact an agent early on. For more information on real estate for sale near you, contact your local realtor. 


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