I'm not sure why, exactly, you have decided to attempt to purchase a house online, as if it were an eBay item, but I'd like for you to consider the following:
You WILL pay EXACTLY the same commission as you would if you used a local agent. That "5% buyer's premium" will not be decreased one penny if you go the self-service route. The commission is not optional, does not change, and is built-in during the bid process.
You will have no local agent to help you with anything. If you want a local agent, just pick up the phone and call one BEFORE you make that bid online. Let the agent register as your agent and then make the bid for you.
You do have an agent, actually. Your agent is the auction company, and the auction company will get that part of the commission that would have gone to a local agent. Make no mistake, the auction company will get the commission you paid, and you will pay it! The commission that COULD have bought you many services from a local agent will, instead, go to the auction company that cannot possibly provide you the same services.
Just try depending on the auction company to answer your specific questions about the house they have never been inside. Just try to get them to accompany your insurance agent, appraiser, and home inspector as they visit the house. What about a "final walk-thru" for you?
Direct all of your questions to your "auction agent" about the contract, the addenda, which lines to sign, ordering title work, title insurance, exceptions to the title insurance, meeting the requirements of your lender, local utility company information, amendments to the contract, inspection reports, dewinterizing, mandatory rekeying.... I could go on, but you get the drift. At least I hope you get the drift, and I hope you are experienced enough as a buyer to know that there are many more steps to buying a house than merely making an offer.
And when Aunt Tilda is in town, your in-laws want to see the house, your children want to pick out their rooms, your spouse wants to measure walls or windows--go ahead and call your "auction agent" and see if s/he will accompany you to the house.
It won't save you a PENNY to go it alone, but bidding is fun; so, go ahead, pretend you are on eBay. BUT when you win the auction, don't expect the listing agent to act like your agent. THAT person is not your agent. Your agent is merely a virtual buddy who will not be present for any of the above and will not accompany you to closing.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, you CAN avoid paying commissions if you buy a FSBO. Oops, that would create new problems and all of the problems above, in addition to leaving you without any of the legal forms you will need...nevermind.
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