Skip the real estate agent and use a lawyer instead.
It may be a great alternative.
It's a hard path, buying a home in the Seattle area today. Really, really hard. Inventory remains very low, and the region is booming like... well, like there's another Gold Rush. So finding and buying a home ain't easy.
Many buyers have decided to take a different tack. Rather than looking to buy a fresh listing, these buyers look for a diamond in the rough. If a home has been on the market 30 days or more, or if it is listed FSBO and not on the MLS, you won't be part of a bidding war. So you can think outside of the box and do things a little differently.
An attorney can help.
One thing you can do is hire an attorney rather than a real estate broker. The internet has changed everything, real estate included. Now anyone can search the listings. Want some analysis of value? There are plenty of online tools that can help. But making an offer (i.e. "the paperwork")? It's tough to do by yourself. And it's exactly what a lawyer provides: legal services.
Which, ironically, means you can save some money too. Most sellers offer a 3% commission. If you forego an agent, you can waive any claim to that 3%. This, in turn, gives you instant negotiation leverage on the price.
- Counsel you about the purchase process and how to protect yourself through appropriate due diligence.
- Draft an offer and negotiate towards a purchase and sale agreement, and renegotiate as necessary following your due diligence.
- Review the title report and work to resolve any concerns.
- Coordinate with escrow and title, and review and approve your closing documents.
- $500 due up front, good for one offer.
- If the offer is rejected and you want to make another offer, another $500 is due.
- When an offer is accepted, another $1000 is due at closing or six months, whichever comes first.
- If you close and complete the purchase, a final $1000 is due.
$500,000 house without 3% commission = you save up to $12,500 (after my fee)
Remember, skipping the agent isn't for everyone. It means you'll do a lot more work. And you should be extra-prepared if you're going to not use a real estate agent. There are resources on the web that can assist you in understanding and working within the process, including my blog. But if you can do it, then when it's time to make an offer, I can help.