Can you buy a house without a real estate agent, or is having one the way to go? Here is everything you need to know!
Despite most people choosing the traditional route, it is possible to buy a house without a real estate agent. However, this will give you several additional responsibilities you need to make. This is what it takes to buy a house without a real estate agent.
Apply for a Mortgage
It’s a common knowledge you can’t buy a house without a mortgage. In other words, before you even start looking for a home, you need to get a mortgage preapproval. With a mortgage preapproval, you’ll know just how big loan you can take, so you know not to look for houses that are outside of your budget. This is also a way to let the sellers know you are serious and aren’t making an offer you can’t stand behind.
Keep in mind that mortgage preapproval isn’t the same as mortgage prequalification. Prequalification usually isn’t enough for you to buy a house without a real estate agent, so take notice of this.
Do Your Research
You can’t go purchasing a property without at least some research. The most important research should be about the neighborhood – and this doesn’t only include whether or not the person next door is kind, and the distance from nearby schools, grocery shops and bus stations. You should also know the average selling price in that area. This won’t only let you know whether or not you’re being ripped off, but you’ll have a brief idea of how easy it’ll be to sell a house later – and how much equity you’ll have once the mortgage is repaid.
Hire a Lawyer
While a lawyer isn’t exactly requested before the sale’s closing date, it would be wise to have one with you every step of the way. A good real estate attorney can be of great help when you’re working alone in Milwaukee, as they can help you not get scammed.
Find the Right Property
This is the step that buyers think is the most important one. Finding the right property when buying without an agent can last for a very long time. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from finding the perfect future home.
Stay within your budget, no matter how tempting it might be to look for those luxurious listings. Despite the Coronavirus, you can still arrange for an in-person viewing, although online viewings work just as well. You should personally arrange everything with the seller, or their agent. While viewing the property, take note of its condition. It would be wise to hire a real estate inspector who can confirm if everything is in a good condition – although this is usually done once the offer is accepted. Also, make sure to ask what is included in the sale. This information is important when creating an offer.
Ask for a Seller’s Disclosure
To put it simple, a Seller’s Disclosure is a list that seller creates with everything that’s wrong with the house. They should also include all remodeling works that have been done on the home. Some things a seller disclosure should include are:
- Structural issues
- Problems with plumbing, heating, or electrical systems.
- Mold and mildew damage
- Water damage
- History of damage from pests such as termites
- Information about any toxins in the soil
- The presence of asbestos, radon, or lead paint
Keep in mind that sellers are only responsible for letting you know about the issues they are aware of. Also, some states don’t require disclosures, so they might avoid doing it – but luckily, Wisconsin isn’t one of them. The only nationally-required disclosure is the last one, about the presence of lead paint.
When you decide to buy a house without a real estate agent, you should research state laws on disclosures so you don’t miss anything. Also, most states legally require sellers to honestly answer to the questions about the state of their home, so make sure you ask all the right questions.
Make an Offer
If you’ve found the right property, it’s time to make an offer. An offer should always be less than the amount you’re preapproved, so you have some space for negotiating. Once this is done, you should write an official offer letter to the seller. This should include not just the amount of money you’re offering, but also any requested contingencies, seller concessions, items that you want the seller to include in the sale, as well as the expected closing date. If your offer is accepted, don’t forget to hire housing inspection to ensure everything is okay with the property.
If the inspection finds out any undisclosed issues, you can negotiate with the seller about this. Depending on your preferences, you can:
- Ask the seller to repair everything
- Ask for reimbursement
- Ask for a reduction of a sale’s price
- Cancel the sale altogether
Close the Sale
Once you’ve reached an agreement, it’s time close the sale and finalize everything. The final step is the underwriting process, something that can take a while. Once this is done, you’ll be given a Closing Disclosure, which will inform you about the terms of your loan, such as closing costs and interest rate. If this is all clear, contact both your lender and your attorney and let them know it’s time to schedule the closing. You’ll have to sign a lot of documents, but once this is done, you’ll officially become a homeowner.