Can A Realtor Work With A For Sale By Owner?
Many home buyers today are confused as to how to deal with a For Sale By Owner, also known as a FSBO.
Will working with the home owner directly save me money?
Can I have my Realtor contact the home owner and continue to work for me?
There are a thousand answers to those two questions ranging from a flat out YES to each of them to a more abstract "Heck No" to both questions.
Let's cover some very basic ground on each question starting with Will working with the home owner directly save me money?
It might if: The home owner is not up to date on the current market like a professional is and the home owner has undervalued their home. This does happen but it is rare. As a rule most listing offices (a listing office is the office that has a contract with a Seller and they usually have their sign out front) receive a 6 to 10% commission of the final sale price at closing. This commission is split between the Real Estate companies and then split again between the companies and the agents involved. In example if a house sells for $100,000. the Seller would pay his Real Estate company $6,000. and that company would divide $6,000 up with the other company. You the home Buyer would save money if the FSBO Seller would list his home for less than the $100,000 he would have listed it for with a Real Estate company. Ask yourself, what are the chances of that happening?
Now lets turn the same question around and ask: Will working with the home owner directly COST me money? First keep in mind that you, the home Buyer, does not pay the Real Estate commission, the Seller does so the Seller cutting out the Realtor in no way saves you money directly. It can cost you money if: You are not keenly aware of the market in that neighborhood. It will cost you money if the Seller fails to disclose defects in the home, zoning issues, recent leans that the title company may not be aware of, and more.
Let's keep it that simple and move on to the second question: Can I have my Realtor contact the home owner and continue to work for me? I have found it very rare that a FSBO Seller would not allow your Realtor to be involved in the transaction HOWEVER only a small percentage will of FSBO Sellers are willing to pay your Realtor the commission. Keep in mind most listing Brokers charge the Seller 10 to 6% (which they split with the Buyers Broker). In most cases I will tell a FSBO Seller that I will complete the transaction and work with both sides for just 3% because I want to see that my Buyer gets a fair shake and everything that should be disclosed to the buyer is disclosed. That being said I'm still often told by FSBO Sellers "No Deal!". If the FSBO Seller is willing to work with your Realtor BUT refuses to pay your Realtor then it is up to you if you wish to proceed with your Realtor and pay him the 3% yourself or dismiss your agent and work directly with the FSBO Seller.
To me the main reason to use a Realtor is to protect yourself. Protect yourself from unscrupulous sellers, a multitude of legal issues, and of course protect yourself from paying to much.