Homes that are for sale by owner -- when a seller decides not to hire a listing agent -- are more common than you might think. They account for about 8 percent of all home listings currently on the market. If you're on the house hunt, you're likely to come across one in your search.
What's different about buying one of these homes? What can you do to leverage the situation to get the most for your money? Here are four things to keep in mind.
1. Hire an agent. Since the seller doesn't have an agent, it's vital that you do -- if only to ensure the transaction is handled correctly and legally. An agent will be knowledgeable about market conditions and can help you craft your offer, prepare the contracts and find the right lender to work with.
2. Be ready to negotiate. These homes are rarely priced appropriately. Sellers typically overvalue their homes due to their emotional attachment to it. Having an agent on your side gives you access to comparable sales data to help you negotiate the right price.
3. Get a home inspection. The owner may not know that they are legally required to disclose known issues with the property, and that oversight could mean costly repairs down the road. A home inspection can shed light on potential problems before you go through with the sale.
4. Add contingencies to your contract. Contingencies give you an exit route should something go wrong during the transaction. If you can't get a loan, you're unhappy with the inspection results or the appraisal doesn't come in at the sale price, you have a way to back out and save your money.
Want to be prepared for your new home purchase? Get in touch today for help on making the best decision for your budget and goals.