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3 Easy Resources When Buying Directly From the Owner

Richard Montgomery on

Dear Monty: We recently got to know a couple who purchased a house directly from the owner. They managed to do this online without using a For-Sale-by-Owner website. Initially, they tried using an FSBO site but quickly realized it was merely a lead generator for real estate agents. They also mentioned that many do not disclose the buy-side commission. Instead, they turned to the internet to circumvent the agents. They explained their process to us, but we're not tech-savvy and need help. Please guide us through the process for the less tech-savvy buyers.

Monty's Answer: Purchasing a home directly from the seller, even without significant technical knowledge, is entirely feasible. However, depending on your grasp of new information, it might require a few hours or more. It might also necessitate some investment to acquire the best tools to increase your chances of success. The upside to buying this way is that you have more control and could save tens of thousands of dollars. However, there's a caveat: The seller might be avoiding agents for reasons other than just wanting to save money. Home sellers and agents drew complaints from home buyers and inspired the home inspection industry decades ago.


No. 1: Almost all articles and videos were agent-oriented when researching for information. Two real estate investors on YouTube, Ariel Herrera and Chandler Smith, had different ideas about buying directly from the owner. I thought both were helpful, but Ariel's was too fast, and Chandler's was too long, and he felt a bit manipulated and salesy but with intelligent ideas. The music is loud, so turn down the volume.

No. 2: The Craigslist has a home-for-sale section that includes a separate FSBO section. Most cities in the U.S. have a local Craigslist website. Typing a sample address (2129 Quail ridge Drive, Nashville, TN) into your search bar will result in a page where you can learn what they paid for the house and how long they have owned it. Scrolling down search results, according to a link from Been Verified, the last sale price was $156,000. The price suggests they have lived there for years if all this information is correct. Poking around in all the search results will reveal a lot of information. Zillow says the house is not on the market (which is an example of conflicting information -- or the FSBO doesn't know how to use Zillow).


No. 3: Many municipalities have embraced technology to share with the public. Doing so relieves municipal workers of consumer inquiries and allows them to focus on their core duties. Just search for "(city name) GIS." For example, searching for "Brown County, Wi, GIS," one of the results is browncountywi.gov/maps/. There are various choices there, including the Geographic Information System map. Accepting the disclaimer and enter an address, and it will show a link to the property map and a very robust list of layer features you can add. Not all GIS software looks this good. There are different GIS vendors that municipalities deploy. You will look in one city and likely one neighborhood.

It will take you only a short time to be proficient.

Richard Montgomery is a syndicated columnist, published author, retired real estate executive, serial entrepreneur and the founder of DearMonty.com and PropBox, Inc. He provides consumers with solution options to real estate questions. Follow him on Twitter(X) @dearmonty or DearMonty.com.


Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.




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