NEW YORK, May 20, 2009 – ForSaleByOwner.com (http://www.ForSaleByOwner.com), the leading real estate “by owner” website, is reminding homebuyers that they do not need a real estate agent to buy real estate. With “by owner” real listings accounting for approximately 20% of all homes on the market, ForSaleByOwner.com offers the following tips on how to buy a “by owner” home without using a real estate agent:
1. Determine Your Budget: The first step in any home buying process is determining how much you can afford. It’s important to not overextend yourself. There are many Internet-based mortgage calculators that will tell you how you can afford based upon your income, debt level, mortgage rate and available cash for a down payment.
2. Get Pre-Approved: Now that you know the price range that you can afford, you’ll want to get pre-approved so that you can move forward in the home buying process. In today’s market, buyers with a large down payment and a strong credit rating are more likely to obtain a mortgage. Getting a pre-approval letter is a quick process that will tell sellers that you are a serious buyer who can afford their home.
3. Search For Homes: This part is simple. Nearly 90% of all buyers use the Internet to search for a home, so ForSaleByOwner.com can help find your ideal home. Keep in mind that nearly 25% of all properties on the market are “by owner” listings, so remember these properties as you search for your next home.
4. Contact the Owner Directly: Unlike homes represented by an agent, there’s no middleman to interfere with you from getting directly in touch with the seller. Phone or email the seller and ask additional questions about the home that wasn’t on the online property description. If you’re still interested, agree on a mutually convenient time to tour the home.
5. Get a Valuation Report of the Home: Either before or after you see the home, get a valuation or property report to see how the home’s asking price compares to other recently sold homes within the neighborhood. It’s similar to a real estate agent’s CMA (comparative market analysis), and it will compare the home you’re considering with recent nearby home sales. Remember that such property reports and CMAs do not factor in any recent renovations — such as kitchen or bathroom remodeling — so the price of the home will be affected accordingly.
6. Hire an Attorney: For a few hundred dollars, a quality real estate attorney will provide you with all the advice and counsel you’ll need to go from the offer to closing. Use a local attorney who is knowledgeable about your town’s ordinances when it comes to real estate transactions, as well as your state’s disclosure laws.
7. Make an Offer: Now that you’ve seen the home firsthand and have a property valuation report, plus an attorney in your corner, you’re ready to present the seller with an offer. Your attorney should have the necessary offer forms or you can use ForSaleByOwner.com to get all of the state-specific paperwork that you’ll need.
8. Lock in Your Mortgage Rate: Assuming that the seller is entertaining your offer, you’ll want to shop around for the lowest mortgage rate. You should contact major lenders, visit local banks and contact mortgage brokers to price compare. Once you’ve settled on a lender and a mortgage product, they will lock you in that mortgage rate and give you a set amount of time to close the real estate transaction. A 30 day or 60 day “lock in” period is most common.
9. Get the Home Inspected: The next step is hiring a quality home inspector who will go through the home – from foundation to attic – to see what condition the home is in. A home inspector will cost $300-$600 and the inspection will take around 2 hours. You’ll get an inspection report outlining any mechanical or structural problems that the home might have.
Depending on the results on the inspection report, you might want to re-negotiate the purchase price. For example, the inspector might tell you that the furnace to be replaced. Negotiate with the seller to lower the price to compensate for any such expense.
10. Close the Deal: Your real estate attorney will handle most of the details at closing and, depending on your state and local area, will advise you on any special paperwork that needs to be completed between you and the seller. Your attorney and your mortgage lender will also assist you with coordinating the financing and providing payment to the seller. The seller will sign over the deed of the home and, voila, you’re the new homeowner!
ForSaleByOwner.com is the nation’s leading “by owner” real estate website. Since 1999, ForSaleByOwner.com has saved home sellers more than one billion dollars by providing premium Internet marketing services, MLS listing services, property pricing reports, real estate guidance and information, downloadable legal forms, as well as live customer support, to help customers independently sell their own homes. The company offers a wide range of listing packages at varying prices that provide advertising, information, tools and resources to empower people to sell their homes themselves. In contrast, a person selling a $300,000 home through a real estate agent would be charged a 6% commission fee and pay approximately $18,000. Prospective homebuyers can browse property database, available at http://www.forsalebyowner.com, at no charge.