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I'm a Porc. I'm also a real estate agent. I'm so glad to see so many people who have moved here, and more in the process. I would like to make a few comments here that may help in the property acquisition process.
First of all, the For Sale By Owner process is awesome! I'm an agent, and I've sold my own property prior to being an agent successfully. There are several things to consider when you approach a FSBO on your own.
Make sure you get a Property Disclosure. It doesn't matter that the owner is selling it by himself, he needs to disclose to you all material defects on the property. If he doesn't have a disclosure for you, ask for one.
Second, get comparable sales for that neighborhood. There are town records that will show you not only the history of the property, but of sales records on that street, in that Z.I.P. code. FSBO's may know what comparables are there, but some simply price the home at what they need to get out of the sale (that can be good or not so good for the buyer.) What a seller needs in order to move has nothing to do with the value of the property. (But try to tell them that!)
Third, FSBO's may be in a great position to negotiate since they are not paying a commission. But they probably know that if they don't sell on their own, they will need to employ a licensed RE agent to get the exposure they need. That's the hard part of selling yourself. You have to pay for all your marketing yourself.
IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING A PROPERTY ALREADY LISTED ON THE MULTI-LISTING SERVICE - - -
I have a few thoughts that I hope you will consider. The "old fashioned" method of contacting the listing agent who has the property listed is . . . well, old fashioned. It also does not necessarily give you, the buyer, the representation you need. For instance, if you want to put an offer on a property when you are dealing with the listing agent, he/she cannot advise you on the price to offer, cannot show you comparable sold properties in the area, nor make any suggestion on contingencies. The listing agent WORKS FOR THE SELLER. They have the seller's best interest in mind. They do NOT have your best interest in mind, and in fact, they by law are not allowed to advise you. This is not good! This is also one of the most misunderstood aspects of buying protocol with listing agents.
MAY I SUGGEST - - -
If you are considering, or in the process of buying real estate in New Hampshire, find an agent that you can work with. If you contact an agent, and he immediately wants to sign you up as a Buyer's Agent, tell him/her that you only want him/her to work as a "non-agent" until you decide if he/she is someone you are comfortable with. You DO NOT HAVE TO SIGN a buyer's agency form. You can refuse, and the agent will so state. But when you find someone you can work with, a BUYERS AGENT has more negotiation power than a NON-AGENT. This works towards the buyer's best interest. Buyers need someone to represent them in order to get the best price, AND the best conditions for the sale.
The way a buyer gets the most attention and loyalty from a real estate agent is when they work for the buyer as a buyer's agent. This is to the buyer's advantage. If you just contact the listing agent, you may pay more for a property, or not get the conditions you want .
The other thing that most RE agents don't say, is you can fire you RE agent. He/she works for you, and if you don't like their service, well . . . they be gone! The agent may want you to sign for 6 months, but if after 3 days it is apparent that there is no chemistry there, fire them! On the other side, an agent who is truly working for you may be busy at times, but they are in your paid-service. After all, when the sale closes, they do get paid for the transaction.
I hope this bit of info helps. I am happy to answer any other questions you may have. I have a lot of helpful info on communities, schools, and RE info on my website www.DaveSellsNH.com and I'm sure I'll be at this summer's Porc Fest. I am more interested in Porcs finding what they want than getting a sale.
Live Free or Die, Dave Walthour