Let’s face it. There are a lot of houses for sale in South Florida. There is no reason for you to shy away from those available for sale by owner. In fact, there are distinct advantages to buying directly from an owner of a for sale by owner home.
There are a lot less fees involved when buying directly from an owner. You will still have basic inspections such as termite inspection, but you are dealing directly with the seller so these can sometimes be negotiated.
The owner has either lived in the home or rented it out, but none-the-less knows more about that property than anyone else could. You should feel free to ask any questions, that they should know the answer to and readily give you the correct answer. Chances are they will be honest as they do want to sell the home.
The asking price for the home will probably be lower than those listed by brokers, as the owner is looking to sell as quickly as possible. Realtors may list at as high a price they think a property could bring, so they get a higher commission.
• There are no middle-men, you can directly barter with the seller regarding price and any options you may be interested in.
There are some things that I recommend you do when dealing directly with a seller for a sale by owner home:
• Get pre-approved and know what you truly will be able to afford, before you look. Know where you will get your mortgage from before you buy, unless you are looking for the owner to carry, then make sure the terms are laid out completely.
• Do your homework and know that the price that is being asked and/or the price you are willing to pay is appropriate for the type and size house in the area you are considering. Look for comparable homes in the area and find out what they have sold for or for how much they are listed. Make sure the lot size is similar and the house size is similar with the same number of rooms and bathrooms.
• Have some type of professional in real estate review any contract before signing. You need to have the assurance that everything is in proper order.
• Get a home warranty, preferably at the seller‘s expense. Usually a seller should provide for one year coverage. With a nominal co-pay, major features of the home such as air conditioners and heating units, water heaters, and more are covered for repair or even replacement when warranted.
So, where are you going to look? Well, you can drive around various areas, which is a good idea anyway to have a feel for what it is like, and jot down properties that are listed. There are online listing sites including Craig’s List, where for sale by owner homes are often listed. And, of course, the local paper is a good source for listings.
Sellers are usually readily available; they are wanting to show their homes and get them sold. Just because a listing has been on the market for a while does not mean you should rule it out. The right person or family may not have just come along yet. Or, perhaps it was listed too high, but now the seller is ready to bring the price down and get it sold. Just make sure you do your homework and that the paperwork is in order before you sign.