In Real Estate a phase you learn quickly is Caveat emptor this is Latin for buyer beware. I am going to give you some very important tips that will help you when shopping for a home. Its nice to be able to take advantage of some of the great opportunities in the FSBO market or For Sale by Owner, in some cases these homes are listed below market value. FSBO sellers typically are selling their home to save money on the Realtor fee which is typically 5% - 6% of the sell price of the home. In theory the FSBO home is priced lower to attract more buyers, but as always be careful and make sure you check values before you make an offer. Here’s some must do tips for any FSBO buyer to follow.
1. GET Qualified; This is step one regardless of who you buy your home from. YOU need to know the amount you can qualify to purchase. This will also let the FSBO seller know you are a serious buyer because you will be able to provide them with a letter stating you are qualified from your lender.
2. Once you find a home get a CMA or Comparative Market Analysis, some Realtors even though they are not involved in the deal will assist you. If you cannot find a Realtor there are several online sources you can use to help you find comparative homes in the same neighborhood.
3. Making an offer and contracts, you’ll want to have an attorney review your purchase contract, make sure you have everything you want in the contract down to the appliances and back yard BBQ if you want it, remember everything is negotiable including your close date. Give yourself time to get financing, inspections and always give yourself a way OUT of the contract should you change your mind due to anyone of the circumstances we just mentioned.
4. As the buyer you get to choose the title/escrow company I encourage you to shop around as fees vary a lot. When you receive the Preliminary Report on the property make sure you review it carefully for any title issues. If you don’t understand something ask your escrow officer to explain it, they are there to help you.
5. Get permission from the seller to get a C.L.U.E. Report from LexisNexis.com this is a 7 year history of insurance claims on the property.
6. Request the seller fill out a property disclosure form. This form should list any defects know to the seller on and up to a given date.
7. Get a HOME inspection by someone of your choosing. I recommend you be present during this home inspection to go over it with the inspector. Most people don’t take advantage of this and it’s a missed opportunity in my opinion.
8. Get a Termite Inspection. Even if the seller has one done already and has all the work done. Get another one by a company of your own choosing.
9. Having your own Realtor even with a FSBO transaction… yes this is possible. Many FSBO sellers are willing to pay a negotiated percentage of the selling price to a real estate agent with a buyer. This means you, the buyer would be represented.
10. Remember buying property alone is not for wimps so be diligent and do your homework.
Ask lots of questions and don’t take anything for granted, assume nothing or think anyone else is looking out for you. YOU’RE are on your own!
IF you don’t want to go it alone, get a Realtor… they will watch your back!
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ACMC, Loan Consultant