Today, I received a card on our door by a local lender who was advertising an open house for a home being sold without agent representation. I think it's great that some owners feel they have the ability to sell a home on their own, but I don't always recommend it. In today's case, the lender had the statement above on the card.
My problem with this is that no buyer should walk into a For Sale By Owner without their own representation, and here is why:
- Confidentiality: The seller is going to engage you in a conversation and seek personal information from you that you might feel is confidential. However most buyers will feel obligated to talk and unfortunately will talk too much. Buyers need to understand that any info they divulge could result in them not getting the best deal, or paying too much for the home. Sellers WILL use what you say against you during negotiations.
- Disclosure: The sellers have chosen to forgo any representation, which means they may not be following the law when it comes to disclosure. They also may have not measured the home correctly and that 2500 square foot home you think you are getting actually includes the garage square footage as well. Having an agent with you will ensure you get the correct information.
- No Deal: If you show up at an open house by a FSBO without your agent, the seller could claim that they "found" you on their own and state they are not obligated to pay your agent their rightful commission. This either means you will have to pay your agent the commission out of your own pocket, decide not to purchase the home, or buy the home without representation and take on the risk of going it alone. With the litigation happy world we live in, I highly recommend you have an agent by your side at all times.
- Private Showing : by going to an open house hosted by a seller, buyers will not be allowed to walk the home by themselves. Sellers don't trust you and will follow you room to room, trying to sell the home. The problem with this is that instead of seeing the details of the home and how it can fit your needs, you will be listening to the seller, and most likely be getting annoyed. You will miss important aspects of the home which could have sold you on purchasing it.
- Representation: and lastly, don't let anyone tell you not to bring your agent. It is your right to have someone representing your interests at all times. If a seller insists for you to ditch an agent, ditch that seller. Most likely any transaction pursued with them will result in alot of unneeded headaches.
Please know that I am not against home owners selling by themselves. I have just run into a couple that are dishonest from the start and actually refuse to show a home if a buyer has an agent. In these cases, it is much better if the buyer passes the home by. I have also met many sellers who are very agent friendly and these transactions have ended with two happy parties. What ever you decide to do, do so with the advice from a real estate agent. They could just save you thousands of dollars during negotiations and save you from a possible lawsuit in the future.