I confess my husband and I bought our first home without a Realtor. Actually we thought we bought our house without a Realtor but we really did not. It was Realtor who showed us the house and wrote an offer. She worked for the seller and we did not understand “agency”.
We never had a home inspection. When we asked the agent about it she said we did not need an inspection because the city had already inspected it. That is just wrong. Buyers should make inspection contingent offers. The city truth in housing report or code compliance is not the same as a buyers inspection. Maybe if we had an inspection we would have known that the contractor took a few short cuts and that the seller made some claims that were not true. Maybe we could have gotten the seller to fix a few things before we moved in.
The reason we were working without an agent was because we did not understand that buyers could have their own agent and that having an agent does not make home buying more expensive. We did not know about broker reciprocity which makes it easy for any real estate agent to show a buyer any home on the market.
We did not want to bother anyone we just wanted to see houses. We went to open houses and we called the phone numbers on the for sale signs. This was all before homes for sale could easily be found on the internet.
Today with all the information on the internet it is easier to buy a home without an agent than it used to be but buyers who are working with agents have an advantage in a today’s sellers markets.
Buyers who are working with agents get a lot of help knowing about homes for sale early on before they have multiple offers on them and an offer from an agent may have more credibility than an offer directly from a buyer in a multiple offer situation because serious home buyers are pre-apporved by a lender and working with an agent. Buyers can engage in “dual agency” and have the listing agent help them make an offer but that agent can not negotiate on their behalf.
Sometimes buyers believe that they will save money if they do not work with an agent. Usually the seller pays commissions and either the seller comes out ahead with a lower commission or the listing agent gets it all because there is no buyers agent to pay. Buyers who represent themselves should ask for some kind of a discount. It is probably better for buyers to represent themselves than to work with an inexperienced agent or one who doesn’t do a good job.
I used to think that one day the internet would replace real estate agents but it isn’t happening because the web sites are supported by agent dollars. Trulia and Zillow are supported by agents who advertise.
Real estate is local, search your state department of commerce to learn about real estate and agency in your state.