Purchasing a home is a big commitment. It’s a significant expense for many people. A house is where most of us spend the majority of our waking hours, so it’s important to take as much time as needed to find the house that best meets your needs.
While you’re researching properties, you’ll find a wide assortment of houses in different neighborhoods and price ranges. The majority of homes on the market today are listed and advertised by realtors. You may see a few houses listed as for sale by agent. There are multiple reasons why homeowners decide to sell their homes themselves.
Buying a home in the Tampa Bay, Florida area isn’t always easy. The entire process might not be completed until several weeks or months have elapsed. There will be various people involved, and there may be unexpected problems or delays that can occur. You should still be able to achieve your goal in most instances. Determination, an open mind and a solid plan of action can help you accomplish that task.
Here are a few things that you can do should you decide to buy a house that’s listed as for sale by owner:
1. Get pre-approved for a home mortgage loan.
One of the first things that you should do before buying any kind of home is to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Schedule a meeting with your lender. They will check your employment and credit history.
Your lender will then give you a letter that includes the dollar amount and terms that they are willing to offer to you if approved. This letter won’t guarantee that you’ll be able to buy the house that you want, but it can definitely give you a distinct advantage over other interested parties who haven’t lined up their financing just yet.
Before you meet with your lender, you may want to examine your current expenses and income. Any unnecessary or repeat expenditures can now be cut from your budget. Any existing credit card balances or other loans should be paid off or down as much as possible. The less outstanding debt you have, the more favorable you will look to lenders.
2. Talk to a realtor.
Just because the home seller isn’t working with a real estate agent, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to. You can talk to and hire a realtor to assist you as needed. Most real estate agents know the local market because they’ve been helping people buy and sell homes for years. They can help you find just the home that you’re looking for.
3. Attend an open house showing.
Your realtor should schedule several open house showings. You should make every effort to attend these showings. Pay close attention to the condition and amenities of each home that you visit. Feel free to ask questions while you’re there.
4. Evaluate the pros and cons carefully.
You should take notes on every house that you visit. Prepare lists of pros and cons for each one. Go over those lists carefully and compare and contrast each property. This can help you narrow down your selections and find the ideal home.
5. Make an offer when you’re ready.
Once you’ve found the home that you want, you can make an offer. The seller can accept the offer, reject the offer or ask to negotiate. A purchase agreement will be drawn up after an offer has been accepted for both parties to read and sign.
A home inspection should be a part of your sale contract. The licensed inspector will evaluate the home’s condition and then release a report with any significant things in need of repair or renovation. You can work with the seller to remedy those issues.
You can pay for those changes or the seller can pay for them. Both parties could split the costs for the changes. You could also ask the seller to lower their asking price as a concession or to have them give you a credit for the upgrades or repairs. Some people who list their homes as for sale by owner do so because they know that there are problems with the house.
In those cases, they may be more willing to work with you in getting them resolved in a timely manner. Problems that are going to take more time and money than you can afford usually aren’t worth it. You’re better off walking away from the sale in that situation.
There are definite advantages and disadvantages to purchasing a property that’s being sold directly by the owner. In most cases, you’ll receive as much information as possible about the home. You’ll also be communicating directly with the seller, so there’s nothing that can be misconstrued or accidentally omitted by intermediaries.
On the other hand, most sellers don’t have a lot of knowledge or experience in selling real estate. They may not know all the rules, regulations and required disclosures. Some sellers may even exclude certain details or material defects intentionally.
If there are problems that arise after the transaction has been completed, they may be more difficult to prove in a court of law, especially when you don’t have the necessary information or claims made in writing.
Owners who sell their homes themselves may also be unaware of their home’s value. That’s why it’s a good idea to include a home appraisal as part of the purchase agreement. The assessment from the appraiser should place the home’s value at or near the seller’s asking price. You can walk away from the sale should the value be significantly underestimated or overstated.
After the purchase agreement has been reviewed and signed, you’ll be one step closer to owning the home. All final paperwork will be signed at closing. The seller will receive their payment for the net proceeds, and you’ll be given the keys to your new house! You can move in whenever you’re ready.
For sale by owner homes can be a great deal or a great risk, so be prepared. You may have to ask a few more questions, conduct additional research and do more work than expected. Hopefully, your efforts will pay off in the end. You’ll have a beautiful place to make lasting memories with family members and friends for many years to come.
Have Questions? Ask Liz!
Give Liz Welch a call today to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.