Why a Buyers Agent is Crucial to Fsbo Purchases

By: Joshua Keen

Homes that are listed as "For Sale By Owner" can be very enticing to potential buyers who are looking to save a bit of money. Most sellers decide to sell their homes themselves in order to avoid having to pay commission fees to real estate agents. They are then likely to be flexible with their asking price. Buyers often know this, and see FSBO properties as an opportunity to get a good deal on a property.

Agents however, know that a FSBO purchase can be riddled with complications that neither the buyer nor the seller may see coming.

A great deal of homes that are put on the market without an agent are listed far above the price that they should be. If a buyer doesn't have an agent representing her, she may be wholly unaware of the fact that the property she is interested in is overpriced. She could end up spending thousands of dollars more than she needs to. A buyer's agent will be familiar with local market conditions, and will be able to advise his client about property values and appropriate asking prices. A buyer's agent can help client avoid being taken advantage of.

While some FSBO sellers are willing to negotiate price, others are not. They are often emotionally invested in their homes, and may be unwilling to budge on their asking price. For a buyer without an agent, there is little that he can do.

Some sellers decide to list their homes themselves as a means of concealing problems with the property. A buyer without any representation may take the seller's word on the condition of the house, and end up with costly problems down the road. Of course, in many cases the seller is unaware themselves of problems with the property, but their ignorance does nothing to lessen the financial blow that certain structural problems can cause.

Because FSBO sellers are not professionals, there are many details that go along with the home buying process that they may not be aware of. Aside from knowing about any problems that the property has, they may not have accurate information about square footage of the house, or where the property lines are. This information is very important for a buyer to have, so it is wise to have an agent by her side, who can find out all the technical details about a property, as well as any potential pitfalls the purchase may present.

A buyer's agent can also assist in obtaining all the necessary paperwork that the seller may not know about. Even a seller that knows which forms are needed, may take his time in acquiring it, thereby wasting the buyer's time. An agent can speed things up and make sure that everything is in order.

If you don't have an agent, and you are considering purchasing a home that is listed as "For Sale By Owner," you could be taking a big chance, as both you and the seller are novices in this field. Required paperwork may be missed, which could lead to legal issues in the future, and price negotiations are much more difficult without having a seasoned professional at your side.

A buyer's agent is invaluable even during the smoothest transactions, but when dealing with an FSBO house, an agent will be crucial in making the process go smoothly and with the fewest amount of headaches. Without an agent, you could be groping around in the dark, trying to decipher the ins and outs of the real estate industry. Get a professional in your corner, and you can breathe easy during the house buying process.

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