I am looking at a FSBO property, how do I know if the asking price a fair value for the home?

Asked by S Dub, Charlotte, NC Tue Aug 5, 2008

I love the house, but how can I be sure I am not paying too muvh for it! I can't seem to locate any records on line (free that is) Any advice?!

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MichelleinNC, Home Buyer, Wilmington, NC
Tue Aug 5, 2008
I just googled "charlotte tax records" and found the website right away.

This should give you a lot of information! Good luck!
2 votes
MichelleinNC, Home Buyer, Wilmington, NC
Tue Aug 5, 2008
Actually it would cost you money to have a buyer's agent. You are the one bringing the money to the table. The seller is simply taking 3% of that and handing it over to the agent. They would probably want to add the agent's commission to the sales price so you are paying a higher price!!!

It is possible to buy a house without an agent. First of all if you want to know how much houses nearby have sold for recently, go to realtor.com. Where it says "what's your home worth?" type in the street address and zip code. It will give you sale prices of homes close by. It is easy to get in your car and drive past the houses on the list to gauge how how similar they are to the house you want to buy.

The tax value and price the owner paid for the house is PUBLIC RECORD! You should not have to pay for this service. I know New Hanover County has a website in which you can find all that info. You just type in an address and it gives you the owner's name, tax districts, past sales data (back to the 1970s), square footage, permit data...basicly everything you need to know about the house.

I don't know where you would find that info in Charlotte, but I'm sure a quick phone call to some govt agencies would point you in the right direction.

Of course, if this is the first time you are buying a house, you may feel more comfortable getting a buyer's agent to help you with this purchase (a major purchase at that). But make sure you find a good, honest one. You don't want someone that is going to tell you that you need to pay more than necessary just so they get more commission (b/c the higher price you pay, the more their commission is).

I will say that I have looked at numerous houses FSBO & houses for sale through a realtor, and 95% of the time the FSBO house is overpriced when compared to the rest. So be careful. Definitely take the time to do your research! It's worth it!
1 vote
Sarah S. Tur…, Home Owner, Atlanta, GA
Tue Aug 5, 2008
Are the Sellers offering "Buyers Agent Protection"? --- Most do. If that is the case, then I highly suggest you getting in touch with a Realtor that specializes in the neighborhood you're considering purchasing in. He or she can do all the research for you, and even take you out to look at a few other properties in the neighborhood that are comparable in price/value. Also, they'll negotiate for you, guide you through your loan process, and inspection... you don't pay him or her a thing, the Seller pays for his/her commission. We have easy access to tons of information that you could spend hours surfing for and never find + we take you through the process step by step... missing a step could cost you thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Good Luck,
1 vote
Sara D'amico, , Huntersville, NC
Tue Aug 5, 2008
S Dub,

If you had a buyer's agent, they would do this work for you. Buyer's agents can work with FSBO's and in most cases the FSBO is more than willing to pay the agent as long as it means that they will be able to sell their home. Often, the reason a person is a FSBO is because they cannot afford to pay a listing agent and a buyer's agent, but can afford to pay a buyer's agent to bring them a buyer. If you'd like to discuss how I can help you as a buyer's agent, please give me a call. I can make sure that the home you are looking at is a fair price.

Sara D'Amico
Broker/Realtor/Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR)
Keller Williams Realty
1 vote
Beth Gionis, Agent, Charlotte, NC
Tue Aug 5, 2008
You should hire a buyers agent to help you make these decisions and advise you. We have the resources and market knowledge to help. Not only that, but the sellers are responsible for providing certain paperwork regardless of how they sell the property. Also, you will want someone to help with the inspections and repair negotiations. Not to mention working with lenders and attorneys to help get you guys to the closing table. Please be sure to call me or any other qualified Realtor with any questions. I promise you will see the value in working with a Realtor! Thanks,
1 vote
gabriel palo…, Agent, Pompano Beach, FL
Thu Sep 30, 2010
Dear Dub,

Falling in love with a house is dangerous but when emotions take over there goes the pocket book.
It shows though that you are indeed exercising a good judgement and you are evaluating the value before you take a plunge.
The simplest answer is to get an appraisal. It will cost you less than $400 and it will protect you from further guessing. If you need to act quickly you may make your offer contingent upon the house appraising to a described value which you are considering to purchase if it meets that critical criteria.

Falling in love with a house is no mistake if the purpose is enjoyment. We need to spoil ourselves from time.
That gives more purpose for working. What better reason to pay a bit more than to get a lot more satisfaction and joy. That is what loving your house is about. What a nice story wishing you a happy ending.

Good Luck
0 votes
Bruce Gresh, Agent, SPRING HILL, FL
Wed Sep 29, 2010
Hire a certified real propert appraiser. Get the current market value opinion from the appraiser and compare that to the asking price and/or the price you are thinking of paying. The appraised value will be what the bank looks at when they decide to provide financing (or not). They will not use your appraisers report however... a new appraisal will be done after you apply for financing.
If you want to make an offer without an appraiser first...then make your offer contingent on an appraisal being done and the opinion of value coming in at or above the offered price.
Agood real estate agent can you help you...even if the seller will not pay for the professional fees of your real estate agent, you can make an agreement with the agent that you will pay a fee. Discuss the terms with the agent ahead of time. It's always money well spent to have a professional represent you in a real estate transaction....just ask a few agents ... you will hear all kinds of real life situations that you do not want to find yourself in !
0 votes
Kevin Olson,…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Wed Sep 29, 2010
I would personally get a Realtor involved and try to get the seller to pay for it. Sellers, FSBO or in the MLS, know how hard approved buyers are to come by. If they know they've got someone seriously interested they should seriously consider paying a Realtor fee if it means a buyer for their home. Just my opinion.
Web Reference:  http://www.liveinsprings.com
0 votes
Stephanie Cl…, , West Bellevue, Bellevue, WA
Wed Sep 29, 2010
S. Dub...

I like Michael Colvin's answer below - find an agent and if the sellers won't pay a fee to help with the transaction then have your agent find you a comparable property. There is so much involved in the sale of a home it would really be to your advantage to let a professional handle it. And there are a lot of properties out there right now that are priced very well.

Stephanie Clancy
The Cascade Team
Simply Outrageous Service! Not Outrageous Commissions!
0 votes
Sergio Herna…, , Naples, FL
Wed Sep 29, 2010
Pay for an appraisal, or ask the owner to provide a recent one (last three months). Short of which, hire a Realtor to help you.
Web Reference:  http://www.golftobeach.com
0 votes
Ken Patterson, Agent, Rocklin, CA
Wed Sep 29, 2010
Definitely hire a buyer agent. There is a huge amount to deal with regarding a home sale/ purchase that most folks just do not realize. Less the 27% of FSBO's ever make it to the closing table when I last checked with NAR. Of those that do close, a significant amount end up in a courthouse in the future for some disclosure issue that resulted in a huge expense for either or both parties... Like the old saying, "you can pay now or you cn pay later..." or something like that.
0 votes
Tcool4u, Home Seller, Huntersville, NC
Tue May 12, 2009
when you look up these "comps" keep in mind, not all homes are the exact same. I have my house up for sale and we are offering 3% comish..not tacking it onto the price after the negotiations, our home is full brick with upgrades galore, large lot with mature trees...and we are including the fridge !! there's a bonus for you.
Our neighborhood is very nice and is established 20 years and our competition are not comparable homes to ours.go figure. You have to actually go inside..2600 sq ft does not look the same in every house either. You just need to know what you are looking for and hope you get a good realtor who will only show you what you are interested in. good luck .
0 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Thu Aug 28, 2008
Hi S. Dub, the best way to evaluate whether a price is fair is by doing a good pricing analysis. It will immediately flush out if the home is overpriced. Of course, it is only as good as the input, and the best source of the comparable data is from an agent. Many FSBO's will cooperate with agents and so if ithe market and pricing dynamics are not altogether clear to you, I'd suggest finding a good full time agent to help you. You are wise to be cautious - you do not want to evaluate in a vacuum. FSBOs are often priced above market not below it so do be careful.

Jeannie Feenick
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
0 votes
barbarak, , Matthews, NC
Thu Aug 28, 2008
Some good and some not so good advise, S Dub. You should hire me to be your buyers agent, but if you are still in need to find out the price just give me a call or contact me via my website. I can help you.
0 votes
Rudra Sen, Home Seller, Apex, NC
Sat Aug 16, 2008
Look at Zillow only as a starting point. Remeber that most professionals use a method of calculating home prices based on "comps". This has been around for hundred years and like all things that old does not work very well. :))

As mixed used communities become more popoular you will get various types of houses within a single neighborhood and when you step inside them the differences are stark. So the best way to do this is to go into a few houses and list the features you like. Find what is reasonable for a standard house in the target area, find a house with the features you like and consder what premium you would be willing to pay over the "standard" features to get what you want.
0 votes
Linda Hinson, , Sunset Beach, NC
Wed Aug 6, 2008
As an investor, I have bought several FSBO homes; however, what Zillow and other websites don't tell you is the story behind the sales. For instance, did the seller take a second? Did the seller give an allowance for some repair? What about an option or a balloon note? What about insights into the community itself? If you are an experience buyer, you know to walk the community and talk to people late in the afternoon or early Saturday mornings about the community. Buyer's agents generally keep their ear to the ground. All this info does not show up on a website.
Web Reference:  http://www.LindaHinson.com
0 votes
ForSaleByOwn…, , Denver, CO
Wed Aug 6, 2008
Another great tool out there that may be of some help is Zillow.com (http://www.zillow.com). They offer buyers some great tools to see what recent real estate sales have grone for in a given area. They may also have a history of transactions on the property you are looking for.
0 votes
Michael Colv…, Agent,
Tue Aug 5, 2008
This is why you should never make a purchase as large as a home without representation!
Find yourself an Agent and if the FSBO won't pay them than let your agent find you a comparable home.
Web Reference:  http://www.colvinm.hpw.com
0 votes
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