Anyone that believes that comment has any validity is a fool IMHO....
TTfamily.....Ask the exact same questions you would/should be asking if the Home is Listed with an Agent.
I hope this helps you and good luck. If you do wish to have further advice or assistance, please feel free to reach out to me.
Houlihan Lawrence, Inc.
However, having said that, if you (or someone reading this) decide to ignore that advice, there are various books on the market about buying homes and selling FSBO. (Not sure how many there might be on buying from a FSBO, but you can piece together what you want to know from those.)
And you want to negotiate, and you want to uncover any problems as well as the seller's "pain." So, do some research and find out when the seller bought the house and what he/she paid for it. Usually, your city or county has that information available online. It won't tell you certain things, like whether the owner's refinanced, but it would be helpful to know whether that $500,000 house was bought 5 years ago for $425,000 (not much room for flexibility) or 20 years ago for $150,000.
Ask the owner how he/she decided on a price. Maybe they had a Realtor run comps recently. Ask to see them. Or maybe that's just what they think the house is worth. (Not so good.) Or maybe that's what a neighbor's house sold for 3 years ago...at the peak of th emarket. (Not so good.)
Ask the owner how long he/she has been trying to sell the house. There's an inverse bell curve of motivation. Something that's been on the market for just a few days may or may not reflect strong motivation. But after a month or two, motivation goes up. On the other hand, if it's been on the market for 8-10 months, that tells you that the price is too high and thus the seller either isn't motivated or else doesn't have the flexibility to lower the price.
And ask the owner what he/she will do if the house doesn't sell. That helps the owner feel the "pain."
Once you've determined (through comps) what the property is worth, don't ask whether the price is flexible. Ask how flexible the price is. Follow up with "Is that the best you can do?" These are all very basic negotiating tips. For some really good information on negotiating, look up any books by Roger Dawson.
Note that I haven't suggested any questions along the lines of: "What repairs are needed?" Or "when was the roof replaced?" Sure, you can ask them, but you may not get accurate answers. So make sure that there's a home inspection contingency in any contract. Also, make sure that there's a contingency that any contract be reviewed by your lawyer. Nor have I suggested asking about the community, schools, or crime. You can, of course. But, as Reagan said, "Trust but verify." There are plenty of online sites providing information about communities and schools, as well as crime. And certainly call the local police department. Oh, a tip: If you're interested in a property, drive the block around 10 pm Friday and Saturday night. See what it's like then. Even park there for an hour or two.
Bottom line: There are lots of easy ways to get facts and figures on the property. Don't trust the homeowner for that. In your interaction with the homeowner, it's your role to reveal the pain, and to negotiate. Thus, your questions should deal with that function.
Hope that helps.
I agree with the other posters. Get an agent to help you or you may end up making a purchase, in which you thought you could save money by not having agents involved, the most expensive mistake you ever made.
RE/MAX Tropical Sands