What You Need to Know about “For Sale by Owner” Homes

November 25, 2015

What You Need to Know about “For Sale by Owner” Homes
 
Your preliminary housing search will show you many homes that are being sold by independent real estate agents, by agents who are working through an agency, and by agencies themselves. You’ll also likely see some attractive homes that are listed not by an agent or agency, but by the current homeowner.
 
What does it mean when someone is trying to go it alone to sell his or her home? And what does it mean for you when you become interested in a house that is “for sale by owner?” Here’s what you need to know.
 

It’s a private listing

A home that is listed by its owner, with no agent representing him or her, is a private listing. The owner has decided not to contract an agent to sell the home, thus avoiding any fees a certified real estate agent or agency would charge.
 
This also means the homeowner has to negotiate the entire sale process him or herself, and may not be acquainted with all of the laws and regulations governing home sales.
 
You can contact the homeowner yourself if you are interested in a “for sale by owner” home. You can also certainly still have your agent contact the homeowner to help facilitate the sale on your end—but the owner has the right to choose not to work with your agency on the sale.
 
Usually, when an agent has been contracted to sell a property, he or she already has background knowledge about the home, has inspected and photographed it, and can tell if the home will fit your needs. The agent will also have a good idea if you can negotiate a sale around the bid you are willing to place.
 
A “for sale by owner” listing will require more research on your part, which will also require cooperation from the homeowner
 

More assurance is needed

If you are interested in bidding on a “for sale by owner” home, you will want to gather as much information as you can from the owner and local agencies. After all, you need to know what you are getting yourself into when you purchase a home.
 
Ask the homeowner for as much information as you can about the home’s age, its history of repairs and maintenance, and anything else he or she can tell you. You can also get records from the city or county to verify the home’s age, the property’s estimated value, property tax history, and any building permit it has had in previous years.
 
You will also definitely want to hire a housing inspector, any number of safety inspections, and an appraiser to verify the home’s soundness, its state, and its value. Of course, the person trying to sell the house must agree to have all of these inspections done, but he or she isn’t bound to agree—if that’s the case, it may not be a good sign.
 

The process may differ

Without an agent guiding the homeowner through the process of selling his or her home, the steps may differ from when an agency is guiding both parties. Particularly if you are working with an agent and the homeowner is not, the process can also become frustrating—especially for the homeowner, who must negotiate with you, your agent, and your lender, and also deal with inspectors and appraisers coming into the home. 
 
Although you will still be able to view the home, request inspections, secure funding, and place a bid, there is no guarantee that the process will run as smoothly as it would if an agent was working as a direct intermediary serving both parties’ interests, rather than just your interests as the buyer.
 
Purchasing a “for sale by owner” home can be a smooth process, particularly with a homeowner who has done so before. That said, it is still in your best interest to have an agent working on your behalf. 


 

Recent Blog Posts

Stay up to date on the latest real estate trends.

5 Best Wineries Near Tucson

Jameson Gray  |  November 22, 2021

Wine is universal — no matter your tastes, there’s always a little something you’ll like.

“The Foothills” in Tucson, Arizona: Which Community is Right for You?

October 7, 2021

Finding the right community is difficult, but Arizona’s luxurious communities likely have a place for you!

5 Best Golf Courses in Tucson

September 1, 2021

Tucson, Arizona, has no shortage of dazzling golf courses

Everything You Need to Know About Indoor/Outdoor Spaces

April 6, 2021

The blend of indoor/outdoor space is one of the most sought-out living trends recently—but what exactly is it?

2021 Seller's Guide

February 20, 2021

Conventional wisdom states that a hot seller's market—the combination of remarkably high demand and historically low inventory—equals an unparalleled negotiating posit… Read more

Spotlight on HK Associates Architects

January 25, 2021

HK Associates is an award-winning architecture firm composed of dynamic husband-and-wife team Kathy Hancox and Michael Kothke.

Oro Valley Views: The Best Scenic Spots in Town

November 19, 2020

Oro Valley has no bad angles. Flanked by the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Sonoran Desert, the magnificence of Arizona’s landscape provides a dramatic backdrop in e… Read more

5 Ways to Welcome Autumn in Oro Valley

October 22, 2020

Surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Santa Catalina and Tortolita Mountains only a few miles north of Tucson, Oro Valley is known as a vibrant, family-friendly com… Read more

5 Can’t-Miss Historic Sites in Tucson

September 24, 2020

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for an activity to pass the time, Tucson is filled with an abundance of historic sites.

LOCAL EXPERTISE. GLOBAL CONNECTIONS.


We offer the highest level of expertise and service with integrity. The Gray | St. Onge Group is a dedicated team with years of experience as leading real estate agents in Tucson, Arizona, and the surrounding area.

Contact Us