Purchasing a home is a big decision. It is a considerable investment. You will be spending a lot of money on a place where you will probably spend most of your life. You should not feel like you need to rush into making a choice.
As you review available properties for sale in your area, you may notice a few homes that are listed as for sale by owner. There are many reasons why owners decide to sell their homes themselves. Some may be looking to save money in listing and marketing costs. Others may be looking to move their property quickly.
Buying a home in Tennessee can take time. The entire process may not be completed for several weeks or months. You can still accomplish your goal with a proper plan of action, patience, and perseverance.
Here are a few things to consider if you are thinking about buying a house that is listed as for sale by owner:
- 1. Talk to a realtor.
- 2. Make a reasonable offer.
- 3. Add in any necessary contingencies to the purchase agreement.
- 4. Determine which costs are paid by which parties.
- 5. Have the home inspected.
- 6. Purchase a title insurance policy.
- 7. Specify when you will take possession of the property.
- 8. Get preapproved for a mortgage loan.
- 9. Get any disclosures in writing.
- Have Questions? Ask The Lumiere Team!
1. Talk to a realtor.
Even though the seller is not using a real estate agent, that does not mean that you can’t have one. A realtor can protect your best interests.
They will work with you to find the home that best meets your needs. The downside for buyers’ real estate agents is that they usually end up doing more work than they would in traditional home sales. However, the seller is responsible for paying the commission to the buyer’s agent.
2. Make a reasonable offer.
The offer that you make on a for sale by owner property should be reasonable. It should reflect current market trends and be in the same range as other similar properties in your area.
You can start with a lower offer and negotiate with the seller. This option may be especially intriguing if significant repairs or renovations need to be done on the home or if the seller is in a hurry to sell their house.
3. Add in any necessary contingencies to the purchase agreement.
Contingencies in a purchase agreement can protect you in case something goes wrong with the purchase. You can write contingencies for approval of your mortgage loan, having the home appraised and inspected and to ensure that the seller has clear title to the home, for example. If any or all these contingencies are not met, the contract will not be enforceable.
4. Determine which costs are paid by which parties.
You can work with the seller to decide which party will be responsible for different costs. For instance, if the home needs repairs or renovations, you can determine who will pay for them.
You can also assign responsibilities for paying the escrow, title fee, transfer fees and other expenses while you are working together on the purchase agreement.
5. Have the home inspected.
You should insist on a home inspection before the sale can be finalized. The home seller and the home buyer should both be present for the inspection.
The inspector will review the condition of the interior and exterior of the home, and then release a report with their findings.
You can work with the seller if there are significant renovations or repairs that need to be made to the home You can have the seller pay for those changes, pay for them yourself or if you want to split the costs evenly.
You could also accept a reduced sale price if you agree to take on the repairs or upgrades or have the seller credit you the respective amount. This would happen after the closing has been completed and would show as a credit toward your closing costs.
6. Purchase a title insurance policy.
A title insurance policy can be a good investment, especially on a home that is put on the market as for sale by owner. Title insurance will cover you if there are any issues or other claims to that property. It protects both you as the buyer and your mortgage lender.
7. Specify when you will take possession of the property.
Another thing that you can do is to determine when you will take possession of the home. Most homebuyers choose to take possession as soon as the closing has been finalized.
Others allow for a day or two so that they have enough time to move in. Whatever you decide, make sure that your choice is in writing and is included in the purchase agreement.
8. Get preapproved for a mortgage loan.
You should get preapproved for a mortgage loan as possible, whether you are planning on buying a for sale by owner home or another property.
It won’t guarantee that you’ll be able to purchase the particular house that you have in mind, but it will give you a definite advantage over other interested parties who don’t have their finances in order.
Schedule a meeting with your lender. They will review your employment and credit history. If approved, the lender will then issue a preapproval letter with the loan amount and terms that they are willing to offer. Having this in hand should make it easier to negotiate with sellers.
9. Get any disclosures in writing.
One reason why some people avoid for sale by owner properties is that they think that the sellers have something to hide. There are certain disclosures that all home sellers are required to provide under local, state, and federal laws.
Getting these disclosures in writing is a hassle-free way of confirming that there is nothing wrong with the property that you do not already know about. All-important material information should be included in those disclosures.
These are just some things to keep in mind if you are contemplating the purchase of a for sale by owner home. Your realtor and lender should be able to help you with additional questions or concerns.
You can also contact the seller directly if there are items that you are unsure about.
Most for sale by owner sellers are upfront and honest with potential buyers.
They may lack real estate experience and knowledge but are usually willing to work with the right parties to get their homes sold in a timely manner. They may even be flexible on their prices and conditions.
Once your questions have been answered and the purchase agreement has been signed, you’re on your way to owning your new home! The closing process will happen before you know it. You can look forward to moving in and beginning the next phase of your busy life.