I want to offer encouragement to others that it can be done and to not be intimidated by other advice (usually from agents/brokers) that it is a bad idea to make an offer on a house without an agent. Yes, it is a complex process and there is need to be careful, but there is a lot of good information available on the internet to help walk you through the steps of the process.
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!