top of page
  • Writer's pictureAron Pinto

Important Things To Know About Know About Buying a ‘For Sale by Owner’ Home

As you negotiate the Waterloo Region home buying process, you will probably see a lot of different homes. Most of them will be listed via a real estate agent, but occasionally you may encounter one that is listed for sale by owner. You might even have a friend, colleague or family member who wants to sell you their home directly.

On the face of things it can seen like a transaction without agents involved would be a simpler process, but that really isn’t necessarily true. Here are some points you should keep in mind if – and when – you view a Waterloo Region home that is for sale by owner.

Most Sellers Will Work With Your Real Estate Agent

Savvy FSBO home sellers do know that most buyers work closely with a buyer’s agent for weeks (if not months) and they will plan to compensate the buyer’s agent just like any other seller would.

Buyer’s agents act as advisers through the ups and downs of the home search. If a FSBO opportunity crosses your path, ask your real estate agent to make the first contact. In many cases they can still work for you and get paid for their efforts.

Try To Stay in Your Comfort Zone

If you find a great home in a prime location that meets all of your criteria, don’t think of it as any different if it’s listed FSBO rather than listed by an agent.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you will meet and see the owner face to face. A home sale is more emotional and personal than, say, the sale of a used car or a piece of furniture. As such, seeing the owner might make you uncomfortable. It does many people and that is actually one of the biggest reasons an FSBO sale is not always advisable in the first place.

But, if the place really does seem to be one you are seriously interested in try to stay in your comfort zone and keep your eyes on the prize. Leverage your agent’s help and ask if you can spend a little time with them in the home alone. An FSBO seller that is serious about making a deal is unlikely to object to that request.

All the Laws Still Apply

There are more than a few laws and regulations that govern the sale of a Waterloo Region home. The problem is that few FSBO sellers have the legal know how, or familiarity with real estate processes or procedures to understand what they are and the honest truth is probably neither do you.

Again, this is where you can rely on your agent. They do know what needs to be done – whether that means requesting disclosures, requesting repairs or one of dozens of things that might crop up – and they can guide you – and the FSBO seller – on just how to proceed.

The Pricing May Be Off

It’s been our experience – and that of a lot of our colleagues – that FSBO sellers tend to have one thing in common; they rejected a local agent’s opinion on the value of – and therefore a suitable asking price for – their home. It’s very common for FSBO sellers to stick to a belief that their home is worth more than an agent suggested and, determined to get that price they decide to go it alone.

This does mean that the pricing may – but not always – be off. However nice a home is don’t be railroaded into paying more than you need to. Discuss the pricing with your own agent, see what their estimates would be and then, if you do decide to make an offer do it via them, as they will be able to best explain the rationale behind a figure the seller may not really like.

Summing things up a home for sale without an agent isn’t off limits. A good real estate pro can represent you in any sale. Just make sure that you go in with your eyes wide open and know that, just like any Waterloo home buying negotiation, it may or may not work out.

bottom of page