Whether buying directly from an owner or not, having a "home buying" plan is a great idea. Determining what features you want or must have, and how much you can afford to spend is a good place to start. Unless you are paying cash, being pre-qualified by a local lender before looking at any property will help the process go more efficiently.
One major benefit of buying directly from the owner is they
know more about the property than anyone else. It is not difficult
to buy "for sale by owner" property, but it is important that
you seek the right guidance to ensure a smooth transaction.
To make an offer, ask the seller for a completed condition report and if the home is older than 1978, a Lead Based Paint Addendum and also an offer form, or check out our real estate forms provided on this site. The Offer to Purchase is the standard legal form you use to make an offer and also describes the contingencies of the sale. Contingencies include such items as obtaining financing, having the home inspected, selling another house, etc.
Return the offer and an earnest money check to the seller. Earnest money represents your good faith in going through with the deal. At closing, the earnest money amount will be credited to you.
If necessary, a counter-offer will be made. Sometimes, counter offers are countered as well. Both the offer and counter-offers spell out the various conditions of the sale, and must be adhered to. The contingencies have deadline dates that neither party can ignore. If there's a problem in meeting one, however, both parties can agree to an extension.
Shop around for a mortgage. For a list of area Lenders, check out those listed on our website. Proof of homeowner's insurance will also need to be provided to your lender at closing. Your insurance agent will have the proper forms. (Comparison shop for insurance also!)
If your offer is subject to an inspection, you, the buyer, are responsible for making the arrangements and paying for the inspection at inspection time. Click on the link here for a list of area home inspectors.
The owner will make the arrangements with their attorney or a title company for closing the transaction. Happy House Hunting!