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For Sale by Owner News and Articles

For Sale by Owner Articles • - Tips for Buying a FSBO Home

How Should I Approach A FSBO Seller?

By Robert Irwin
Some buyers feel apprehensive about approaching a "by-owner" seller. Perhaps in the past they've always dealt with a real estate agent, never directly with a principle. These buyers don't know what to say. And, if and when they want to make an offer, they don't know how to proceed.
If you feel this way, the best advice is to just relax. By-owner sellers are people just like the rest of us. Most are aware of buyer's anxiety, indeed, they may have their own seller's anxiety! Often they already have taken steps to smooth out the evaluation and selling process of their home by contacting professionals who are ready to come in and help with such things as preparing the sales agreement, inspections, and disclosures.
Nevertheless, you as a buyer can go a long way toward making your examination of the property and, if you like it subsequent purchase, easier by following these five steps:


Get Your Financial Ducks In A Row - Just as with buying any property, you want to let the seller know that you're qualified. Remember, chances are you and your financial situation are completely unknown to the sellers. And yet you're asking them to join in a transfer of what is probably their most valuable asset, their home. Put them at ease by getting pre-approved - any good mortgage broker can handle this for you, or you can do it online here. A lender's solid pre-approval letter lets them know you can qualify for the mortgage you need to buy their property. And at the same time, it keeps you from having to disclose to them your personal financials.
Determine If You're Really Interested - Go to the seller's website where the home is listed. Look at the photos. Check out the details and descriptions. Go to links that give you statistics on local schools and crime. Find out how far you'll have to travel to work. Finally, drive by the house and neighborhood and see if it's a place where you'd like to live.
Educate Yourself As To Market Values - How will you know if the seller is offering you a bargain? Or asking too much? You can find out by checking out what comparable homes have recently sold for.
Only After Doing All This, Contact The Seller - You can call or email, and set up a time to tour the property. Be sure to give the sellers enough information about yourself (phone number and address at minimum) to put them at ease about your intentions. Then examine the home closely. Come back a second and even a third time. You'll get to know both the house... and the sellers, better. Remember, relax - they're probably just as anxious and nervous as you.
Finally, Make Your Offer - Do it directly yourself, or hire an agent to do it for you. Negotiate the price and terms, but always keep it civil. Remember, it's only business. Once you've come to a basic agreement, determine how the paperwork is going to be handled. Perhaps you'll want your attorney or agent to do it. Or maybe the sellers have already made arrangements with someone they know. Open escrow together, and go through the closing procedure (outlined in previous articles).
It's not that hard. And, you could save a bundle if you've done your homework!"

Robert Irwin is the most prolific real estate writer in America having produced over 100 published books in the field. His TIPS & TRAPS McGraw-Hill series has sold well over a million copies and his FOR SALE BY OWNER KIT and FIND IT, BUY IT, FIX IT and other books have been strong sellers for Dearborn.
In addition Irwin writes a regular real estate column for The Wall Street Journal online and is introducing a new weekly column
Irwin has sold his own property "by owner" and during over 30 years in the business has been a broker and consultant to lenders, agents, buyers and sellers.
He can be reached through his website

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