Just a few short months ago my husband and I bought a house without a realtor. The seller gave us her rock bottom pricing if we agreed to forgo using a real estate agent. At the time it sounded like a no-brainer.
To say this was an easy or smooth process would be a flat out lie. It was anything but.
We had all sorts of trouble. More that you can even imagine. And because of the trouble we had and mistakes we made, I learned a lot.
If you’re buying directly from the seller learn from my mistakes. Here are the things you should do when buying a home without a realtor.
# 1 – Get Preapproved for a Mortgage
If you’ve found a house you love and are ready to make an offer, do yourself a favor and get preapproved for a mortgage. This initial step could save both you and the seller a lot of frustration and heartache in the end.
This is one step we got right in our home buying journey. Even though we knew we had good enough credit and a large enough down payment to purchase the home we were buying a rural property. We had to talk to loan officers from a couple of different banks before finally getting the go-ahead since the land value of the property was close to the value of the house. (Apparently banks don’t like that!)
Getting preapproved for a mortgage is a smart move no matter how you go about purchasing a home.
# 2 – Get a Real Estate Lawyer to Draw Up the Offer
One of our largest mistakes when purchasing the house was making a verbal offer. We thought we had a deal only to find out after getting the inspection that we weren’t on agreement in price.
If you’re like me and are a little too trusting of other people, you especially need a written offer. A few hundred dollars spent on a lawyer will be worth it. A lawyer can also help you add contingencies to the offer such as a general home inspection, a termite inspection, and a cleaning clause.
Real estate lawyers have experience in this area. They can be an immense help to you.
# 3 – Get Your Inspections
Get inspections done. You need to know what you’re purchasing. Spend a few hundred dollars and have the home thoroughly inspected. You don’t want to buy a house that’s going to cause you to go bankrupt with all of the repairs that need made.
If the home has a septic tank get a septic inspection done as well.
# 4 – Submit the Contract to the Bank
One you have agreed on a price and have had the necessary inspections done have your real estate lawyer draw up a contract. Once the contract is signed by both parties you’ll need to submit it to the bank.
# 5 – If You Don’t Get Immediate Occupancy……
Many times when purchasing a home you’ll find that the seller wants to stay for thirty days after closing. Or at least, this is what happened with our home.
If this is the case you need to draw some boundaries.
(Our house had cats left in it even after the sellers moved out but hadn’t yet moved their belongings. They waited until the very last day to move their things and we were left with a lot of cat excrements to deal with.)
I would include in the contract that no animals are allowed in the house after closing and that the house must be professionally cleaned. I had nothing about either of those and was left with an absolute mess. (Some things we still haven’t quite got cleaned up even months after being here!)
If there’s any way possible I would request immediate occupancy after closing. And also be sure to give the house a thorough walk through to make sure everything is intact before you close at the bank.
If you can’t get immediate occupancy you need to include in the contract that the house will be professionally cleaned after the sellers move out.
# 6- Enjoy the Hard Work
While forgoing a realtor is a lot of work it can save you a substantial amount of money in the long run. Just be sure to avoid the rookie mistakes I made. Secure a real estate lawyer right from the beginning so you can get on guidance on buying directly from the seller.
After all of your hard work is done enjoy your new home – you definitely earned it!
Alexa Mason is a freelance writer and wanna be internet entrepreneur. She is also a newly single mom to two beautiful little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mom trying to make it big at www.singlemomsincome.com.