Home Buying

Can You Buy a House Without a Real Estate Agent?

February 21, 2018 | by Ben Mizes


Buying a home is a big deal for all parties involved. When most home-buyers start their search, they may be under the impression they must use a real estate agent to handle the details. While knowledgeable and honest agents are helpful, a realtor isn’t completely necessary. In fact, 10-20% of all annual home sales are direct purchases between buyers and sellers. Before buyers and sellers embark on this journey alone, they should understand the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding with this real estate transaction without an agent.

Is it Possible to Buy or Sell a Home without an Agent?

The short answer, yes. While buying a home without a realtor is not right for everyone, or every situation it is worth considering depending on the circumstances.

4 Key Advantages of Buying or Selling a House Without an Agent

    1. Saving MoneyReal estate agents typically charge a 6% commission on the sale price, split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents. When selling a large and expensive asset like a home, this can really add up. Let’s take the median home price in the U.S. of $206,000. At closing, both the buyer and seller’s agents would be walking away with over $12,000 or $6,180 each!
    2. More ControlRealtors get paid when a home is sold or bought. With this in mind, realtors have less of an incentive to negotiate on price and more of an incentive to push the deal through the finish line. Without a realtor, the buyer can negotiate with a seller at their pace and with only their own interests in mind.
    3. FlexibilityIn today’s technology-driven world, listings are only a few clicks away on the internet. Buyers without a realtor can navigate listings in any neighborhood, region, or state as they choose.
    4. No More MiddlemanWhen in the picture, all communication between buyers and sellers flows through the realtors. When agents aren’t in the picture, you won’t need to wait for return phone calls or worried that messages may get lost in translation.

Is Buying or Selling a Home Without an Agent Straightforward?

Typically not. Let’s face it, there’s a reason why there are over 1.2 million real estate agents in the U.S. Buying or selling a home is a complicated journey with a many (often times simultaneously) moving parts. This brings us to the 4 key disadvantages of buying or selling a house without an agent.

Disadvantages of Buying or Selling a House Without an Agent

  1. Navigating the MarketNavigating a market as big and complex as real estate is no easy task, especially without a realtor. When researching the perfect home, buyers must compare neighborhoods, home exteriors and interiors, additions, school districts, and much more. The prospective buyer is also tasked with recognizing local, regional, and national trends to ensure he or she is making the right decision.
  2. Dealing with the PaperworkA ton of legal paperwork is required throughout the home-buying process. Not only are the documents extensive, but they also take a level of familiarity on the various forms and financial details involved.
  3. Getting the Best DealWithout an agent, a buyer may not realize some of the hidden costs of the home, such as the subtle differences between neighborhoods or if a location is in a questionable area. A realtor can also help buyers negotiate and plan for maintenance and repair issues that may happen 3, 5, or 10 years down the line.
  4. Inefficient Use of Your TimeFirst-time buyers will undoubtedly spend more time going through the learning curve to learn the basics and the nuances of various restrictions, laws, and rules. That’s why buying and selling houses is a full-time job for most real estate agents!

Is Flying Solo Right for You?

Buying a home without a realtor is not for everyone. At Clever, we don’t recommend settling for the traditional 6% commission, but we also don’t want to see you go at it alone. Clever partners with top local real estate agents in your neighborhood to make the buying process simple and streamlined, all for a flat fee. Still not convinced? Your agent will even rebate you up to 1% of their commission at closing!

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