What are the benefits or drawbacks to expanding my home search to include FSBOs and foreclosures?

Asked by Stephan, San Francisco, CA Mon Apr 23, 2007

How does the buying process for foreclosures or FSBOs differ from homes sold by agents?

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Eduardo Gute…, Agent, San Rafael, CA
Mon Apr 23, 2007
FSBO pros and cons: Pros: The seller hopefully has done their homework and priced the home lower than market rate to take into account half of the commission they will be saving. Cons: However it has been my experience that they often simply price it at market rate hoping to save the extra money. Plus, it's never fun to deal with a seller representing themselves as they typically are not savvy to the legal process, the escrow process and the necessary paperwork required. They often end up relying on YOUR agent instead, putting him/her in a difficult position of helping both sides instead of simply dedicating 100% of their energy on you. As for foreclosures, they can be a great windfall savings, however they do require certain things. When it's time to sell the property, the buyer needs to show up at the courthouse with a cashier's check for the full amount in cash, and can still get overbid, typically by the same people (contractors and deeper pocket investors looking for a great deal). Foreclosures are not easy, but workable. That being said, Mill Valley has fewer foreclosures than most, since the cost of entry is quite high.
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Kristen O'Do…, , Mill Valley, CA
Mon Apr 23, 2007
Very few homes in this area are sold successfully by owners, and we see very few foreclosures -- far less than in other parts of the country. Focusing only on FSBO's and foreclosures will result in an exceptionally long home search, possibly years, before finding the right home for your family.
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David duPont, , Mill Valley, CA
Mon Apr 23, 2007
You should work with a realtor and explore all of these opportunities.
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