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  • Buying without a realtor

    Bad idea? Presuming you have found a house without them, what other value does a realtor add, and how much can you do yourself?

  • #2
    Not a bad idea. I wish I could have. Speaking from my experience with a realtor, he drafted the purchase contract, sent emails, made phone calls (inspector, lawyer, appraisal, appointments). I don't know behind the scenes, but from what I did see, I could have done what he did.

    It can't be impossible because a good portion of transactions have no realtor on either side. Private "for sale by owner" deals.

    No matter what, always get your own lawyer. Some lawyers will even tell you they will do the "realtor duties" for a few extra dollars. The super nice lawyers will even just hold your hand: "get your appraisal, inspection, mortgage, call the town, etc...).
    $1 saved = >$1 earned. ✓

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    • #3
      Nothing wrong with buying without a realtor as long as you are getting a discount for buying without a realtor. If you aren't going to get a discount, might as well get one. My impression is that homes that are being sold with a realtor won't give you a discount and the selling realtor will just keep the funds for him/herself. Either that or offer to represent you and the seller. I agree with getting a real estate lawyer or going through some closing service to do the closing, not something you want to diy.

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      • #4
        I recently bought a house with no realtor. I figure I saved $35k. The seller had the contracts and lined up a lawyer. It was easy. I used a realtor to sell my old house. I felt like I needed the marketing.

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        • #5
          This. Real estate association still remains powerful. Few realtors will negotiate representation.

          IF you use a title company and been through the process a few times, the risks are pretty low from the buyer side. The hardest part is presenting the contract to the seller's agent. Remember they are obligated to present all offers to the seller....so they cannot refuse a valid contract offer no matter what it says on it or they will be in breach....then you can cut the agent completely out of the deal and offer directly to the seller.

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          • #6
            At least in my area, you will cut yourself off from a lot of houses, because for many houses that are being sold by a realtor, the selling realtor will not talk to a buyer unless they are represented by a realtor. Realtors look out for each other.

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            • #7
              How does one go about finding a lawyer.
              I hate realtors, car salesman, middle men in general.
              These people have next to no education and get paid tons of $.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by drmka26 View Post
                How does one go about finding a lawyer.
                I hate realtors, car salesman, middle men in general.
                These people have next to no education and get paid tons of $.
                Seems harsh. They offer a needed service and get compensated accordingly. Not everyone was made to be a brain surgeon

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                • #9
                  Real estate agents vary a lot in quality. Agent is not doing his/her job if you could drive around using Zillow/Realtor with the same results. Agent should be able to quickly figure out your tastes and find something within the budget you set. They should know the area so you don't waste time traveling to listings that you would never consider.

                  If you decide to skip a buyer's agent then you need to do some homework such as hiring a competent home inspector, knowing the local laws on seller disclosures, and getting a real estate attorney. It's not fair to expect the seller's agent to do your work if you want the 3% buyer's commission.

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                  • #10
                    I have seen where the buyers agent will do both for 4% but I would bet a lot of these are regional issues.

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                    • #11
                      We found a house by ourselves. We then wanted to make an offer and the sellers agents said that we had to be represented by a realtor because it was required by law. That was not true. So we ended up just signing with him because I didn't want to argue with him nor my wife. Unfortunately he still wanted the full 3% and wouldn't budge on taking less. It was a complete crock of s***. Furthermore I would highly advise getting your own independent inspector. We utilized one from the realtor and there were many misses. Realtors want an inspector that is going to pass the house and not make a fuss. You want an inspector to catch everything that is wrong so your goals do not align.

                      my brother-in-law is a city inspector and he's developed a reputation that no one likes him because he will find everything that is wrong and make the contractors or the sellers fix it. He's exactly the guy you hire when you are buying


                      ​​​​​​ I don't plan on ever using a realtor to buy or sell our house is in the future.

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                      • #12
                        I bought our most recent house without a buyers realtor. We found the house we wanted to get and made an offer directly to the selling realtor.....no mess, no issues. We already had a real estate attorney and home inspector who we've known and trusted so that part was easy. A good home inspector is worth their weight in gold.

                        I had a good friend run into an issue similar to above posters where the selling realtor did not want to deal with a buyer not represented by a realtor. In that case it seemed like they were pushing hard to represent both parties. After the selling realtor flat out refused to deal directly with my friend, he mailed the home owners an offer letter directly along with a note explaining the realtor had refused a valid offer and was not representing the sellers interest. Needless to say that house was represented by another brokerage shortly after.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cubicle View Post
                          Not a bad idea. I wish I could have. Speaking from my experience with a realtor, he drafted the purchase contract, sent emails, made phone calls (inspector, lawyer, appraisal, appointments). I don't know behind the scenes, but from what I did see, I could have done what he did.

                          It can't be impossible because a good portion of transactions have no realtor on either side. Private "for sale by owner" deals.

                          No matter what, always get your own lawyer. Some lawyers will even tell you they will do the "realtor duties" for a few extra dollars. The super nice lawyers will even just hold your hand: "get your appraisal, inspection, mortgage, call the town, etc...).
                          I bought 1 house, and sold 2 houses without realtor. Then for most recent purchase of our primary residence, I was finishing up the last 6 months of fellowship, while my wife was moving ahead of me to start a tenure-track faculty position. We knew we liked the area and would be staying there for 6+ years, since it is really bad to change locations before securing tenure. We didn't want to have to move 3 times within 6 months, plus did not want to miss the busy spring home-buying season, but she was less comfortable with all the extra legwork required. So I arranged to have a local realtor do some of the things for us at a pre-negotiated discount (was supposed to be 1/2 of "normal" 3% buyers realtor fee, or 1.5%). However, when it came time to closing she just took the full cut and I really had no resort except to sue their realty brokerage for breach of contract. Needless to say the experience left me a bit bitter. So if you are looking for a discount broker, make sure they are on the up & up and your contract is iron-clad (not just a written (email) agreement). Redfin is probably the best known of these discount brokers, but there are others.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by drmka26 View Post
                            How does one go about finding a lawyer.
                            I hate realtors, car salesman, middle men in general.
                            These people have next to no education and get paid tons of $.
                            Yep, the trueism that no one will work as hard for you as you work for yourself is really true. But realtors really take the cake. There was a pretty famous list of studies profiled by "Freakonomics" authors which (in rough summary) show that realtors take much longer (2 weeks) to sell their own house vs. the houses of their clients and are more willing to take /push for price reductions for clients property than their own (get about 5% more for their own house, versus a closely comparable house for a client). The incentives are just not there -- they get paid a %comission and a marginal difference in price translates to maybe a couple hundred bucks, but a lot more effort.

                            Here's a direct quote from one of these academic papers: "a seller's use of a broker reduces the selling price of the typical home by 5.9 to 7.7 percent, which indicates that agency costs exceed the advantages of brokers' knowledge and expertise by a wide margin." (Do real estate brokers add value when listing services are unbundled?" by B. Doublas Bernheim and Jonathan Meer, which argues against the current MLS/realtor system due to classical principal-agent problem and a cartel-like nature of the system).

                            Edit: FYI here's the summary article from NYT:

                            https://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/20/b...xtra-mile.html

                            Also, like everything else that "thrives in darkness" (like mispricing & manipulation by car dealers), availability of online resources like zillow / redfin / etc. and house-buyers ability to do their own home search, the premiums realtors have been getting for their own home are now shrinking.
                            Last edited by Marko-ER; 06-16-2020, 09:01 AM. Reason: additional reference / clarification

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                            • #15
                              How does one go about looking for a real estate attorney and inspectors? Just word of mouth? Why aren't these folks, who are 10x more valuable than a realtor, advertising their services ?

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