I have a finance background and am a transactions attorney so the process was relatively easy for me. As far as legal documents go, the documents used in a typical residential sales transaction are extremely simplistic and easy to use. Running a CMA is very easy to do as well if you know where to look online. And of course, no one will advocate for your rights as much as you, yourself would.
Ultimately, both buyer and seller's agent want to get paid. That is the bottom line. The higher the price you pay for your house, the more both agents get. So your agent, in a sense, will have an inherent conflict of interests to start with. However, I do think an agent is useful to guide you through the process, though I would have to agree that 3% is too much.
If you are using an agent I would suggest using one that will give you back half or more of the 3%, especially in this market.
And as pointed out, no one works for free. We were able to work a deal with the seller's agent where we reduced the purchase price by 3% because we were not using a real estate agent.
Ultimately, buying a house by yourself, like almost anything else, is doable on your own. However it will take a lot of time and effort and you will have to do a lot of research to make sure you understand the ins and outs of a real estate transaction. Good luck whatever you choose.
If the house you want to buy is listed with an real estate brokerage, buying without representation is not common as the listing agent and the seller have an agreement for commission and the total commission is due to the listing agent whether or not the buyer is represented. So if I were the seller, I would want the buyer to be represented because that's what was the intent when the seller and listing agent negotiated the total commission (usually half is earmarked for the buyer's agent).
So now you come and you want to make an offer below asking price and your rationale is that you want to offer less because you don't need or want an agent to represent you. To the seller it means that he proably will end up with the same amount of money, but he is dealing with an unrepresented buyer, which could mean trouble during the escrow. I don't mean any offense to you, but the common perception is that unrepresented buyers are more difficult than represented buyers. I am not taking a position on whether that's true or not.
For the listing agent, an unrepresented buyer also often means that the listing agent ends up doing double work, but gets only paid half of the commission if he agrees to renegotiate the commission with the seller in light of the offer from an unrepresented buyer.
It's not so much a matter what form you use to write up the offer. IT's a matter of convincing the listing agent that it's in the client's best interest that he reduce his commission so that the seller can accept a below asking price offer from an unrepresented buyer. I have no words of wisdom for you there as I don't know you and therefore don't know if it's a good or bad idea for the seller and listing agent to entertain such a proposal.
If you can convince everybody that it's in the seller's best interest to deal with you directly, then the listing agent can provide you with the necessary form and he'll most likely will require you to sign a form that acknowledges that he does not represent you.
If the house is not listed by a brokerage, you can buy one of the self-help books or you can also call a title and escrow company and they maybe able to assist you with the paperwork. I honestly, don't know exactly how it's done when there are no agents involved, but I think a title company would be able to at least point you in the right direction as they must have run into this kind of a situation before. Good luck to you.
â€¢ Ability to read & write in English
â€¢ Basic math skills
â€¢ Basic knowledge of the market / how to estimate the cost of a house
â€¢ Basic negotiation skills
â€¢ Basic organizational & financial skills
â€¢ Know how to find independent resources for home inspection, mortgage lender etc.
â€¢ Basic Leadership, Motivation and Guts
Then go for it!
Anyone who is lacking in any of these areas should seek some help. When buying a house the buyer agent / broker will handle all the paperwork for you, help you find out how much you can afford, help you add everything up, check your work, point you to resources for inspection and mortgage, negotiate for you and help babysit / keep you organized if needed.
We started working with a buyerâ€™s agent and the biggest thing lacking was the negotiation skills. This Is understandable because the buyerâ€™s agent has a conflict of interest. On one side they want to get you the best deal, but on the other side they get paid more the more you pay for the house, and they consciously or subconsciously want the deal to go through which means selling at or close to the asking price. This is in direct conflict with the buyerâ€™s goals!
Many people say that the buyerâ€™s agent is paid by the sellers â€“ well guess where the sellers get the money?? â€“ FROM YOU!! Yes itâ€™s a shell game with the money, you put all your money in, and then (arguably) everyone gets paid from that.
In this market (2009) sellers need to be educated that house values have plummeted, and if they want to move their house theyâ€™ll have to price it accordingly.
If you want to know about how to buy houses, check out how millionaires shop for used cars as described in the popular book â€œthe millionaire next doorâ€ â€“ this book will also teach you how valuable every dollar is each day.
Whatever you want to offer is up to you, with or without an agent, that's your decision.
If you've done your homework, and feel comfortable with the process, you can certainly purchase a home without the assistance of a real estate agent. If this is the first time you've attempted this, it may not be advisable. I would definitely make sure you engage the services of a good real estate attorney to review all of the paperwork.
Don't would be my advise. If you feel you MUST , I would recommend you get your attorney to do it for you. negotiating your own deal is not an easy thing to do. You obviously dont even know the simpliest part of the transact (not trying to be rude here), so why would you want to handle something so important by yourself? If the property is listed, you could work with the listing agent, some people prefer that. Your BEST representaion would be with your own buyers agent. They would be YOUR agent, and would handle not only hte written offer, but the negotiations as well. Once the offer is accepted, there is STILL a lot to do. You may need a mortgage, and an aget can help you get to the right place for than. Perhaps you need referrals for home inspectors, or an attorney, your agent can help with that too. There is a lot of work being done behind the scenes AFTER you have an accepted deal. An agent will.should be the center of that, to help the process allow. Good Luck
1) The seller pays the commission; not the buyer. You save nothing by operating without an agent.
2) The law requires numerous disclosures, and each city/county has its own requirements; this is something only an experienced agent knows.
3) If something goes wrong with a transaction (and this occurs at least 50% of the time), you will need an agent between you and the seller to assist with the negotiations.
4) In the rare instance that the property is not listed (i.e. a for-sale-by-owner), the owner is usually experienced and will eat you alive. I would never be "penny wise; pound foolish"; there is lots of money to be made in real estate and being cheap is guaranteed to make you lose.
I attached a real estate network link with thousands of agents that can help you.
I hope you can find what you are looking for.
There are no decent standard form offers I am aware of on line. I would suggest you contact a lawyer and have one drawn, that suits your needs.
Ken Dorfman, Broker
Kenneth B Dorfman Real Estate
Buyers in California do not need a real estate agent, but they can have one for free. They must hire an escrow company, title or/and a lawyer to complete the trasaction, but not for free.
Making an offer without an agent is not very wise. Many buyers think all their agent does is write up an offer.
Truth is, buying real esate is a complex porcess that requires vast knowlegde of real estate practices.
You will not get a better buy on the home if you go with out the benefit of represenatation.
As for writting an offer below list, unless you are a cash buyer that too is not a good idea.
As for the forms, only agents have access to CAR forms. You can by a purchase agreement from staples, office depot ect, and use it to write up your offer, but there is a great chance the listing agent as well as the seller will not accpet such an offer.
Please find yourself a buyer's agent, you will be much better off if you do.
Best of luck to you,
Kawain Payne, Realtor
For a free consultation give me a call: 310-754-8121 or visit my website http://www.ROMANBRUNO.com
Normally the seller pays the commision on the sale of a property.
This allows you to buy a property with the help and services of a professional without any cost in most cases.
The seller normally will not give you a discount on the price if you come to the table to negoiate without representation.
Remember it may not be their first time at selling and they may have a agent working for them.
So doesn't it make sense to come to the table with at least equal or more representation.
Good Luck to you.
Best of luck!
I don't know of a form you can download online and I do not recommend you work without a buyer agent on any home purchase. A buyer agent is the best friend you can have in a home purchase as their loyalty is to protecting your interests alone. It costs you nothing to retain an excellent buyer agent, so why do without?
The difference in commission between a 300,000 vs a 310,000 sale is miniscule. At 6%, the agentâ€™s split would be about $150 more. Minus taxes and the franchise fee it would be much less.
I agreed with everything you said except for one thing: although it may appear that buyers agents have a conflict of interest in regards to higher commission for them as opposed to lower price for the buyer, if agents consistently push their buyers toward higher prices, their time in the business would not be long, deservedly so.
Just my opinion.
By the way, this question was asked 2 years ago.
I spent a lot of time to compose the answer for Lj, but took it out because it is not worth answering the question anymore because Lj does not need what Bond's has resurrected.
And the contract forms he provided? Not CAR forms and I hope it covers all contract related issues the do-it-yourself buyers need - as we know about California, how we like to cover every font, and sadly, the stack of our paper work ended up to be several inches thick at times.
It took me a while to compose that answer, if you still need to know it, eitehr reply to Trulia or send me an email via my Trulia profile.
BTW, just in case others wonder, Lj is in L.A. and I am in Marin, I am definitely not trying to get his/her business..
Well, as you can see from all the responses below, it might not be your best choice to represent yourself. And you need to ask yourself why? Realtors are friendly people and we have a fiduciary responsibility to our client to get them the best for their money. Also, in this "law happy" state we live in, there is a good reason why each real estate associate must have special insurance, called Errors and Ommissions. Why take that chance when the seller is the one who pays the commission to the agent?
As a last mention, there are books and courses available to real estate professionals on "How to Stay out of Court" and on an on. The paperwork in itself is huge and not something I would want to do myself.
I would be more than happy to represent you.
The agreement for commission is between the listing agent and the seller. If you want to offer lower than the asking price, I will present your offer, no matter what it is. It is up to the seller to accept or reject your offer.
You are not contracturally or otherwise entitled to any part of the listings agents commission if you do not use an agent. You do not automatically save anything if you do not use an agent. A Broker can not pay a commission to an unlicensed person.
As a listing agent... if I decide, or not, to credit part of my agreed upon commission to a buyer to put a deal together... that is solely my decision. And at times I will do that to put a deal together and make it fair for both buyer and seller. However, I am under no obligation to do so.
Align yourself with a good real estate agent. Your worry is not the commission but to get the best deal you can. A good agent will ensure that happens for you.
I hope this helps
You can purchase the contracts you are interested in from the California Association of Realtors and you can try to complete them yourself. However, if the home you are interested in purchasing is being represented by an agent then what is most likely to happen is that the agent representing the seller would represent the seller's interests (as they are supposed to do) and they would collect the full commission being paid for both sides of the transaction.
You might be interested to know that a buyer's agent (who, as others have pointed out already costs you nothing to employ) should be able to help you save more than you might be able to negotiate for yourself. In addition, a licensed agent can also help to ensure that you don't overpay for the home you choose to purchase.
But the most important thing that they do for you is to make sure that your interests are represented and that you have a strong, knowledgable advocate. Your agent also makes sure that all of the timelines are adhered to on both sides of the transaction and that they are realistic, that you receive all of the disclosures you need to receive by law and they should also have a network of service providers available, like a trustworthy home inspector and a good appraiser.
As for making an offer below asking price... here is where a good agent can really help you. By doing a comprehensive CMA (comparative market anaylsis) of the property you are interested in they can help you to determine what a fair offer would be. Sure, you can make an offer for any amount you wish to offer, but it truly is a waste of everyones time (especially yours) if the offer you are making is not one that could be acceptable to the seller's.
When I prepare an offer for my buying client's, I do the same pricing anaylsis that I do for my selling client's. Market appropriate pricing is just that, market appropriate, and a good agent will help you to understand and interpret the market so that you are armed with the knowledge that will protect you when you make your investment.
If you want more information feel free to give me a call at (909) 837-8922.
Take care and have a wonderful day!
Tisza Major-Posner, Realtor, Keller Williams
I think the key points are to consult with a real estate attorney and have them help write up the offer, make sure you read everything carefully, and ask questions if there is something you don't understand or need clarification about. I think what can feel overwhelming is the sheer volume of paperwork and the legal verbiage. But again, with careful reading, research with the help of the internet, and an attorney looking over your shoulder, you will be fine. Just be patient...there's a reason for all the paperwork and it really does make sense!
We are in the process of making an offer on a house without an agent. We found the property ourselves using Trulia. The frustrating thing we are finding is that dealing directly with the seller's agent can be challenging. The hitch we've encountered is that she's trying to get us to sign paperwork designating her as the Dual Agent since we don't have one. Initially, she presented this to us saying we "needed" to sign this. We questioned this, did some research to make sure, and clarified to her that we don't want to sign. We are specifically coming without an agent in order to hopefully give the seller more flexibility on the price. She then backed off and said we're right, we don't need to sign, she was just trying to "protect" us since we don't have an agent.
Near as I can tell, this is a bunch of baloney! The only thing she's trying to protect is the opportunity to collect the whole commission.
I will say that this is something you don't want to do alone. In addition to a good real estate attorney, make sure you enter this process with a spouse or good friend who is detail oriented and not afraid to question things. It helps if they have been through the process before, or have a background in finance/business, but this is not necessary. I would say more important is someone who can bring a healthy dose of skepticism and a spine to help cut through the baloney and stand up to an agent whose motivation is how much they are going to get out of the process.
The truth is that because of the internet, and apps like Trulia that allow individuals to access the MLS independently, real estate agents, and I would say buyers agents in particular, are a dying breed. So be wary of information out there discouraging you from making an offer on your own. They are going to tell you that you need them to help guide you through the process. I'm here to say that isn't true. You really can do this on your own!
If you want to make an offer without an agent, just walk up to the house and make your offer. There are no forms available for public use. Everything in life is negotiable.
However, I would highly suggest that you use a Realtor. The standardized purchase contracts can only be used by licensed Realtors. Those are the same contracts that protect buyers in case anything goes wrong. Realtors also have access to comparable housing sales and prices in the area so they would be able to make the best estimate in terms of how much below asking you should offer. You're getting a Realtor's experience, knowledge, and time and the best part is that you don't even have to pay for it.
I commend you for wanting to save money (I assume that is why you want to do the offer yourself) but in the longrun you may actually save yourself a lot of headaches AND money if you use an agent.
And, YES you can offer below the asking price. In this market it is rare to get an offer that is asking or above (it does still happen). When making an offer you need to keep in mind that if you "lowball" the price the seller may take offense and not be very workable.
I am in Los Angeles. Feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance.
You got great advise already !
Did you know that the Dept. of RE biggest interest is that agents take care of the consumer? In essence, we are here to take care of you ! And agent makes sure your are legally covered whether you are a buyer or a seller. So, although you can make an offer on your own, it behooves you to use a professional agent. Glad to be of service !
If you would like names of reputable agents in your area, give me a call. I know many.
Keep in mind the largest percentage of RE lawsuits involve unrepresented parties.