Your Team Members: Don’t Buy Without Them

In the home purchase process, the quality of the experience you have will be determined by the people on your team.

Of course, you will have a mortgage professional and a real estate agent to accompany you on your journey, but there are others who will play key roles: a real estate attorney and a home inspector.

The home inspector is optional, but a very good idea. For perhaps a few hundred dollars and a couple of hours, an inspector can go through the entire property and give you an unbiased review of the current and future issues you may face. A home inspection, as opposed to an appraisal, will inspect all systems such as plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, etc.

If the seller offers to provide you with his or her inspection, do look at it, but it’s still the best option to have your own inspection by somebody who is working for you and watching out for your interests.

The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a property and go through the purchase process, only to find out later that there was a condition problem that will cost big dollars to correct.

While having a real estate attorney is optional in most states, it’s very important. Of course, the mortgage and real estate professionals are very good at what they do; but they aren’t attorneys. Issues will come up at closing that neither the mortgage professional nor the real estate agent would, or should, address. These issues may include title questions or ownership documentation of the property, and items which have gone missing, such as appliances or light fixtures assumed to be part of the purchase agreement.

All of your team members are working on your behalf and will do their best to make your real estate transaction go smoothly. Don’t consider buying without them.

Buyer Beware: There Are Downsides to Buying a FSBO

Purchasing a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) property may seem like a good idea; the seller isn’t paying sales commissions and that should be reflected in the price. However, caveat emptor-buyer beware-there are downsides. According to research conducted by the National Association of Realtors, fewer than 10% of FSBOs are actually sold.

Why? There are any number of reasons, ranging from the fact that sellers don’t know how to price the property to potential problems with the condition of the house.

For example, without the advice of a real estate agent, the seller could over-price the home. So when your lender has the property appraised (which you will pay for), you may find that the appraisal comes in lower than the seller’s price. And the lender is only prepared to lend against this appraisal value. Not against the price the seller is asking. You may come up short.

A home inspection is always advisable, but with a FSBO, it’s essential. Even with an inspection, the sellers may refuse to fix the items identified in the inspection, and the deal may fall through.

For any FSBO purchase, you should have your own real estate agent (even if you have to pay the commission yourself) plus an experienced real estate attorney. They’ll represent your interests: Your agent by evaluating the property according to local market conditions and negotiating on your behalf; your attorney by ensuring the transaction closes seamlessly.

This is the purchase of a lifetime; if it’s a FSBO, ensure that it’s done right.