Myths about Buying A House Without a Realtor

(June 15, 2016)

If you’re in the market for a new home, you may wonder how to buy a house without a Realtor. You may wonder if it’s even possible to do so. One thing that you may have noticed in your search for information is that there are an awful lot of opinions floating around out there about working without an agent – some true, some not so true. Here we take a look at some of the untruths about buying a house without a realtor. 

“You can’t work without an agent.” This is a falsehood, you absolutely can buy without the assistance of a Realtor.  You can sell your home without a Realtor too.  Whether it's the right choice for you depends on your situation.

“Sellers don’t take independent buyers seriously.” While some sellers may take exception to working with a buyer who doesn’t have an agent, it’s very possible to find people that will indeed work with you. In fact, some sellers may prefer it because they can save about 2-3% in broker commission. Note: Having all of your ducks in a row – pre-approved financing, downpayment, paperwork, etc. – shows you're serious and will go a long way. FactsMyths.png

“You can only buy for sale by owner properties without a Realtor.” This is also patently untrue. You are free to make an offer on any home, whether the seller has an agent or not.  That being said, anyone listing their home FSBO is likely looking to save on broker commissions and may limit what they're willing to pay.

“The buyer doesn't save by working alone.”  It is standard for the seller to pay both the listing and selling broker commissions.  Many who purchase without an agent offer 2-3% less than the asking price so that they receive the savings, rather than the seller.  Tip: If it's a seller's market, and competition is high, paying full ask will increase the chances of getting your offer accepted.  You'll stand out among the rest because your offer will save them money. You may also consider using their agent, as they'll be more likely to suggest your offer since they'll be receive both commissions.

If you’re looking for a new home, learn the facts about how to buy a house without a Realtor before submitting any offers.  While you can save money by working without one, you can also lose money in negotiations.  For first time buyers, I highly suggest using an agent to make sure you're properly protected and making a smart investment.  The more seasoned of a buyer you are, the more successful you'll be buying a house without a realtor.  No matter what you choose, make sure to use a reputable escrow company and home inspector.  And make sure the seller provides disclosures for the property.  You don't want any surprises creeping up a few years down the line, such as foundation issues or plumbing issues.

Jennifer Shenbaum

Written by Jennifer Shenbaum

Jennifer Shenbaum is a real estate investor based in Southern California. She is a veteran of the housing market crash of 2007. Best of all, she offers free remodeling ideas to all who ask.

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