The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Buying a House Without a Realtor

The real estate world is full of do-it-yourselfers. So, it's not surprising that people often wonder if they can apply that attitude to buying a home and forego the Realtor. They're wondering "what are they doing that I can't do myself?" and in some cases, the answer might be very little. In others, having a Realtor is a game changer. Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly of buying a home yourself. 

The good

If you have the skills--and the patience-- to navigate buying a home by yourself it can have huge financial benefits. If you go that route the seller won't have to pay a commission to a Realtor or real estate agent, so they should be a little more flexible on the overall price. That's because the seller typically pays the Realtor or real estate agent's commission at a rate of 5%. So, if you're buying a $200,000 home you may be able to negotiate a $10,000 savings for yourself if you're not using a Realtor. 

The main reason people skip the Realtor is usually financial, but doing it yourself can mean there's no lag time or breakdown in communication between you and your Realtor. It can also save you time scheduling showings since there's one less calendar to try to coordinate with. That can help move the process along faster and help you feel more in control of what's happening. 

The bad

Buying a home is exciting, but the process can be daunting. A real estate agent can help you narrow down your neighborhood choices and negotiate contracts, and they can make the process of looking a little easier, by doing a lot of the research to find a home that meets all the must-haves on your list. 

Buying a home also means a ton of paperwork and questions. A good Realtor will have experience in dealing with all the red tape and can help you navigate it more quickly than you would on your own. 

The ugly 

Chances are the main reason you're thinking about foregoing a Realtor is to save money. So, one of the worst things that can happen is if you actually end up paying more than you would have if you had used one. A good Realtor has a lot of practice negotiating and really knows the market. It's not just price either. When it comes to buying a home, almost everything is negotiable. A great Realtor might be able to convince the seller to leave that beautiful crystal chandelier or to throw in a home warranty. 

So, do you have to have an agent? No. But you might enjoy your home buying experience a lot more with one!

You should spend some time choosing your Realtor, ideally getting references from people you know and trust. Depending on how long it takes to find the right home, you and your Realtor will probably get to know each other pretty well. You’ll spend a lot of time in the car together, and you’ll tell your agent pretty much everything about your life because you want to live in a place that is perfect for you.