Most people would not consider buying a home without an agent. In any given year, only about 10% to 20% of home buying sales transactions are completed without the services of a real estate agent. Although many for sale by owner (FSBO) sellers will pay a commission to a buyer's agent, some will not. Some FSBOs want to sell without any real estate agent involvement in the transaction. In the industry, these types of sellers are considered unrepresented.
An unrepresented seller might choose to lock out a real estate agent because of money. Their reasoning is they don't want to pay a real estate commission. Some lose a lot of money because of the perception that paying a commission costs more when a good agent often pays for themselves through negotiation services. But that's their loss and your gain.
Agents in the industry see a lot of FSBOs underprice, which is favorable for the buyer. It's also common for a home buyer to wonder if the seller is hiding a defect or some other problem because they don't want an agent involved, which is also possible.
Warning: Beware if you are trying to buy a home directly from an unrepresented seller. The seller may not know what they are doing or might be taking advantage of you; either way, it could be problematic.
Before proceeding to buy a home directly from an owner, ask the seller if you can let your agent represent you. The seller might be willing to pay a commission for a buyer's agent, which means your agent costs you nothing. If not, here's what you do:
Important: Buying a home directly from an owner is risky. Use a buyer's representative to protect yourself from costly mistakes. Also, do your own thorough research to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Note that some home buyers, especially first-time home buyers, are wary of real estate agents. They think that real estate agents care only about closing the deal and not about them. A small percentage of real estate agents are like that, but the larger percentage care deeply about providing quality service and treating clients honestly and ethically.
If you opt to buy a home without an agent:
Before buying a home directly from an owner, you should consider ways to protect yourself from risks that can be costly. Using a buyer's agent and hiring a real estate lawyer to answer questions and review contracts can minimize risk. Also, do your own research to learn about home values, schools, and transportation in the area.
credit: the balance