Buying house without an agent

Apple
richlad

Apple

PRE
NVIDIA, Google
richladmore
Sep 10 34 Comments

First time home buyer here. I've obtained pre-approval. Not in a particular hurry to buy a home, definitely want to avoid overpaying. With the apps doing most of the work, I don't see a point of paying the agent several tens of grand just for showing up. Anyway since the agent makes money on selling price, I'm unable to see why they'll have my best interests in mind. I think I can handle the negotiations and paperwork on my own, trying to negotiate lower purchase price since seller doesn't need to pay my agent. Would like to know people's thoughts...

TC 300k 5 yoe, wife TC 220k 5 yoe

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TOP 34 Comments
  • Uber / Eng DgoQ22
    There are 2 agents, buyer and seller agent. Buyer agent is on your side. It doesn’t save you money to not use agent because the seller agent won’t give you rebate anyways even if you don’t use agent.
    Sep 10 8
    • SolarWinds AnEngineer
      The seller pays that 3%. Ffs how did you buy a house and not know this?
      Sep 10
    • Wayfair olYP50
      Yeah the seller pays but it comes out of the price you pay. You think that money mysteriously appears from some where ?
      Sep 10
    • SolarWinds AnEngineer
      It mysteriously appears from the seller's profits ya dingus. The markets determine prices, not how much the seller wants.
      Sep 10
    • Apple ld24a0743
      It depends on the market. If it’s a sellers market your simply competing against other buyers. If it’s a buyers market there’s room for negotiation everywhere.
      Sep 10
    • New pkko62
      Those who still think seller pays buyers agent, not the buyer - you should consider a default case a scenario where the agents are Redfin or any others who do 1% or more rebates. The agent will return you 1% or more. As a result you can consider the actual price of the house is 1% less. In the “regular” scenario where the agent doesn’t rebate you just add that 1% from your pocket.

      It is not about just 1% but all 6% are paid by buyer, indirectly. The price for the seller is 6% less. Those 6% of the buyers money go to the agents.

      If you find a seller without agent and offer him to bring an agent he will just increase the price on the agent’s comission, and again buyer pays it.
      Sep 10
  • New roger55
    Anyone who tells you to use a buyer agent is just regurgitating realtor SEO articles. You don’t need a buyer agent at all. Most are completely useless and it’s mostly a legacy rent-seeking industry in the app age. Most other countries the commission that goes to agents is lower than the US btw.

    Seller agents are necessary and if you get a good one are amazing - largely for their network and influence in the community. But that’s probably like top 5% of seller agents, so you have to choose wisely.

    But since you’re buying, what you do is when you’re seeing the house you want the seller agent will ask you who your agent is, tell them you dont have one. From then on they’re locked in on you, they are highly motivated to push their seller to sell to you, since they will get both sides of the commission. And many will cut part of the buyer agent fee too (in my case that’s what happened), so you will def save money, on top of likely getting the best deal.

    The funny thing with RE agents is this is the only situation where the agent is actually “on your side”, since their financial interests are aligned with yours.

    As far as paperwork, if you’re on East Coast you will need to have an attorney for the transaction anyway. If you’re on West Coast, you won’t need one (you could still hire one), but your bank will have one present (since they’re actually the ones buying 80%+ of the house). And it’s really not complicated anyway.
    Sep 10 1
    • New Qfjg38
      Was going to post this. We used a dual agent when we bought our house (meaning we did not have a buyer's agent and used our seller's agent instead) and it was great. We were bidding against 4 other couples and won even with a below ask offer. We had an excellent attorney (who we hired on our own) and did all of the price negotiation on our own, but our house was a bit of a mess when we bought it so it was basically as-is. We found our own inspectors and similar. I don't feel like we missed out on anything by not using a buyer's agent.
      Sep 10
  • Google əๅɓoo⅁
    We are always buying without an agent. Less serious? No way. Seller’s agent would rather sell to you as they make more money this way. You can negotiate 0.5-1% back from them so you do get a (slightly) smaller price.
    Agents are near useless in negotiations. All they want is to close as fast as possible as time is money for them. They won’t spend their time negotiating you a few thousands (and reduce their commission).
    Sep 10 3
    • Symantec / Eng sha2
      My comment is really for a first time buyer. It’s tempting to think we can do anything ourselves, but the first-time buyer isn’t going to understand the contingencies or how to play them. Imagine the freak out the first time the receive a notice-to-perform. Of course, that’s not likely because a self-service buyer is likely to release their contingencies too early. There’s just a lot of little details about your rights under the contract that a buyer needs someone to help explain to them.
      Sep 10
    • Symantec / Eng sha2
      ...and reading the Internet is not a substitute for experience. I once pulled off a 10k credit from a seller on a plumbing inspection. Actual fix cost me $700 after close. No software developer is going to pull that off the first time they engage in a real estate transaction with a seller represented by an experience agent. The seller’s agent is just gonna dish out a lot of “That’s just how it is.”
      Sep 10
    • Kaspersky Lab / HR
      mayfair

      Kaspersky Lab HR

      PRE
      Heineken
      mayfairmore
      Agents won’t really help with evaluating costs to fix things. If you’re buying a fixer-upper you should have a construction professional with you, not agent.
      Sep 12
  • McKesson / Eng
    kuiV51

    McKesson Eng

    PRE
    Freelancer, Amazon
    kuiV51more
    First mistake: Think the apps can do everything for you. Agents have much deeper access to historical and upcoming data than is publically available.
    2nd mistake: you don't have contacts and relationships to trusty contractors and vendors that a good agent brings with them.
    3rd mistake: you don't know real estate law well enough to not land yourself in deep legal shit.
    4th mistake: what contingencies do you put into a contract offer that the seller will accept? What are deal breakers today? How much earnest money to seal it? Which title agency? Which building inspector? Which plumber? Which roofer? Which bug report contractor? How do you remove asbestos? Which rat proofer and feeces remover? Which HVAC ?
    5th mistake: assuming you are saving money buying a house without an agent when the seller is paying them.
    6th mistake: assuming there is a way to not over pay in Cupertino.

    Now if you find that widow who just wants to move out of state to her son's home in Michigan and doesn't care what price she gets, you may be able to put a roof over your head.

    Just because you can defend yourself in a court of law rather than pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a lawyer to sit besides you is not a good idea.

    Get a real estate degree and do a dozen transactions and you'll be qualified to represent yourself on the largest monetary transaction your will make in your life.
    Sep 10 2
    • Microsoft Wmum85
      You shouldn't be relying what is really work for a general contractor such as plumbing, roofing, asbestos removal, and HVAC, just that the buyer agent knows rough costs for these and can factor this into a realistic offer amount.
      Sep 12
    • McKesson / Eng
      kuiV51

      McKesson Eng

      PRE
      Freelancer, Amazon
      kuiV51more
      Yes, getting reliable cost estimates and inspections within the contingency time box as well as getting lender mandated work completed prior to closing all require a level of trust usually built through prior engagements. Yelp and Angie's list are a poor substitute for a good agent.
      Sep 12
  • Kaspersky Lab / HR
    mayfair

    Kaspersky Lab HR

    PRE
    Heineken
    mayfairmore
    It takes you couple weeks and about $500 to obtain a real estate agent license.
    If you’re worried, get a license yourself and you’ll be up to speed with legislation. And Chris’s Voss book “Never split the difference” can help you with negotiations.
    Sep 10 5
    • Gen!x / Eng
      ixptl12

      Gen!x Eng

      PRE
      startups, JPMorgan Chase
      BIO
      ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      ixptl12more
      Considering these rules are set by 50 different states, I call this out as Fake News.
      Sep 10
    • Kaspersky Lab / HR
      mayfair

      Kaspersky Lab HR

      PRE
      Heineken
      mayfairmore
      Obviously, you need to get a license in the state you’re buying. Every state issues its own license. Did I miss that OP was living in Cali and buying in Alaska?
      Sep 10
    • SolarWinds AnEngineer
      If you can pass the test in a couple of weeks that's pretty unusual.
      Sep 10
    • Kaspersky Lab / HR
      mayfair

      Kaspersky Lab HR

      PRE
      Heineken
      mayfairmore
      It depends on how strongly you want it
      Sep 10
    • Bose
      haITried

      Bose

      PRE
      Salesforce
      haITriedmore
      Please , high school drop outs can become real estate agents all the time, its not a big deal
      Sep 10
  • Symantec / Eng sha2
    You won’t save any money by not using a buyers agent, but you will appear less than serious when you make offers. Understanding the format of an offer letter, reasonable contingencies, your rights under contract, and how best to negotiate ONCE IN ESCROW are not things you are likely to grasp without prior experience. I am an engineer, but my experience is that most engineers overestimate their intelligence relative to the general population. Most of the people replying to you would be easily outmaneuvered in any negotiation.
    Sep 10 0
  • Gen!x / Eng
    ixptl12

    Gen!x Eng

    PRE
    startups, JPMorgan Chase
    BIO
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    ixptl12more
    Why use an agent when you can Google your way to every answer.

    Same goes for getting a lawyer, dentist and doctor.

    You’ll be fine. You have Google.
    Sep 10 0
  • Bose
    haITried

    Bose

    PRE
    Salesforce
    haITriedmore
    Use redfin or some other discount buyer agency.
    Sep 10 0
  • People generally don’t want to sell to someone who doesn’t have an agent if they don’t need to.
    Sep 10 0
  • New / Consultant Pilot143
    A good agent will help you in many ways. But that's only if you have a good agent worth anything.

    Typically, they offer 3% to the buying agent and 3% to the selling agent. Technically the house seller pays these fees as it comes out of their profit. It never costs a buyer or renter to use a realtor. If you were to go to directly to the selling agent, you might talk them down to 4.5% total, but not likely.

    My selling agent recently did an amazing job selling my house. He deserved his share and convinced me to list at a higher price, putting more money in my pocket, even after his cut.
    Sep 10 0
  • Microsoft Wmum85
    This is very blind, you want to be a cheapass and you think you'll save money skip on a buyer's agent but you apparently don't know enough about real estate.

    Depending on the market, the seller's agent will not want to deal with a self-representing buyer unless they have to as you will be more trouble than dealing with a agent because you think you know everything but you don't. Having the seller be your agent won't save you anything and infact might be detrimental as they want the sale to go through, not solely focused on your interests.
    Sep 12 0
  • Autolist eFks14
    If that's the case, just go take go take the real estate license exam and get yourself a free 2% back
    Sep 10 0
  • Airbnb YdSR51
    Go with openlistings. Massive refund from buyer agent commission
    Sep 10 0
  • Amazon / Product
    vxt1z

    Amazon Product

    PRE
    500 Startups
    vxt1zmore
    If your not looking for a full concierge service then get an agent that shares their commission. Ranges somewhere upto 2%. Redfin agents do 1% and are full service. From a sellers perspective they have already factored in the commissions and they won’t reduce the price plus your offer will look less serious as compared to other buyers. Also, the sellers agent themselves will discount your offer telling the buyer that statistically buyers not using the agent have lesser probability to close and often back out of offers. Hope this helps
    Sep 10 0
  • U.S. Dpt. of Veterans Affairs / Other zxcvbnx
    Get referrals for agents. Use one as it will save you a lot of headaches esp since you are a first time buyer. There are so many little annoying things that happens between offering and you actually closing.
    Sep 10 0

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