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Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Old Jul 28th 2007, 1:23 am
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Default Buying a home in LA without a realtor

I am very keen to buy my neighbour's house. He wants to sell but would rather not use a realtor. Cut out the middleman. I have no problem with this but don't really know what's involved with buying a house over here. It seems rather more complex than the uk. In UK I just found the house, found a mortgage online, got a lawyer who did every thing I needed including deal with the money side and that was it. Simple
Here there are the seller's realtor, the buyer's realtor, real estate attorneys, escrow companies. Seems to be a lot more people looking for a piece of the pie.
As I understand it I would be advised to definatley get someone to help me. Seems like an attorney would be most useful. It's unlikely the seller would pay for my realtor since they are not using one. If I just employed an attorney what work would I have to do. Would I need to do the title searches, lien checks etc. myself. I assume that I need to organise the home inspection myself of course.
Any help on this maze would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 1:55 am
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

some info
http://www.ehow.com/how_5847_decide-whether-buy.html

the attorneys
http://attorneypages.com/lawyer-real...os_Angeles.htm
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 6:53 am
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Originally Posted by angelman View Post
I am very keen to buy my neighbour's house. He wants to sell but would rather not use a realtor. Cut out the middleman. I have no problem with this but don't really know what's involved with buying a house over here. It seems rather more complex than the uk. In UK I just found the house, found a mortgage online, got a lawyer who did every thing I needed including deal with the money side and that was it. Simple
Here there are the seller's realtor, the buyer's realtor, real estate attorneys, escrow companies. Seems to be a lot more people looking for a piece of the pie.
As I understand it I would be advised to definatley get someone to help me. Seems like an attorney would be most useful. It's unlikely the seller would pay for my realtor since they are not using one. If I just employed an attorney what work would I have to do. Would I need to do the title searches, lien checks etc. myself. I assume that I need to organise the home inspection myself of course.
Any help on this maze would be greatly appreciated.
I did this twice in the US and if you haven't involved realtors, you definitely don't want to pay the 6% realtor commission (esp. in LA, where I'd guess this amounts to quite a chunk of money).

Bearing in mind that different states do things different ways (I did this in TN and NC), your best bet is to visit a real estate attorney first as you can't buy/sell without one as far as I know (they write up the sale contract).

Have you and the buyer already agreed on a price? If so, life is easy - you could even use the same attorney as all you need is a contract written up which reflects what you've agreed on (the usual stuff, price, completion date, fixtures & fittings, etc.).

Are you assuming his/her mortgage (might be recommended if they have a good rate fixed interest mortgage)? If so, you'll need to discuss what you will do with the escrow, and include this in the contract.

Various little bits to think about, but your attorney can advise you on all of them. You don't need a realtor in this situation and it would be almost unethical for a realtor to get involved (one exception: you might, if you were a little leery about being a newby to the sit'n, ask a colleague or neighbor for a trustworthy realtor and see if he/she is willing to just oversee the process for a fixed fee (I'd think $250 to $500 would be a reasonable amount, as there wouldn't be much work involved).

Good luck with it. My first purchase was from a neighbor, and it worked fine. I assumed her mortgage and gave her $6,000 in cash. She had only recently bought the house and promptly met a millionaire who wanted to marry her, so she no longer needed it. I'd been searching for 3 months, and all the time my dream house was across the street!
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 7:00 am
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Have a look at www.nolo.com They mostly sell books (and they have one on buying a home in CA) but they also have useful articles and forums online.
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

ditto to dun's post.. I've done this before and simply used a real estate lawyer to draw up the contract, look over what the seller gave me and make sure everything was in line. He also helped me make sure I was on target for a few other things; good advice all around.
Less than $1000, and we used him again when we sold the property. Realtors do a lot of things, but youi don't need one for this deal.
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 5:42 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
I did this twice in the US and if you haven't involved realtors, you definitely don't want to pay the 6% realtor commission (esp. in LA, where I'd guess this amounts to quite a chunk of money).
But the seller has to pay the 6% not the buyer. An experienced realtor should protect the purchaser and arrange inspections etc. In turn the purchasers realtor gets half the fees from the selling agent.
Unless the seller is offering some great incentives it does the buyer no favors to save the owner 6% realtor fees
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 6:45 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Originally Posted by Lord Lionheart View Post
But the seller has to pay the 6% not the buyer. An experienced realtor should protect the purchaser and arrange inspections etc. In turn the purchasers realtor gets half the fees from the selling agent.
Unless the seller is offering some great incentives it does the buyer no favors to save the owner 6% realtor fees
how about checking the title, boundaries, liens etc. that sort of thing. Would a lawyer do this, escrow or would this or is this a realtors job?
I am doing as much reading as I can about the whole process. I am sure that it is actually quite a straightfoward process in general but people like to hype up the dangers and complications. There are too many people with a vested interest in the process. Call me cynical if you may. Not to say I am unaware of the dangers and pitfalls.
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 7:03 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Originally Posted by angelman View Post
how about checking the title, boundaries, liens etc. that sort of thing. Would a lawyer do this, escrow or would this or is this a realtors job?
I am doing as much reading as I can about the whole process. I am sure that it is actually quite a straightfoward process in general but people like to hype up the dangers and complications. There are too many people with a vested interest in the process. Call me cynical if you may. Not to say I am unaware of the dangers and pitfalls.
Not sure mate. To be honest I've never purchased here so don't want to give you bad advise. I've been through it to a degree as we were looking to buy as recently as 2003, but that's another story.
I beleive the loan company do the title search, survey, transfer ( and charge you loads of fees for the pleasure) and the realtor is a middle man familiar with the procedures who 'should' co-ordinate between the bank, selling agent and yourself.
Call a realtor, there's loads of them around. Ask them the above questions but under no circumstances sign a contract saying they are your 'sole realtor', which basically makes them your official realtor, one tried to do this to me when I was looking.
As I said the seller pays the realtor fee so what are the incentives for you not to use one? Is the seller passing some of this discount to you? Or just trying so save himself 6%, thus leave you vunerable having no-one acting on your behalf?!
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 7:15 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Originally Posted by angelman View Post
how about checking the title, boundaries, liens etc. that sort of thing. Would a lawyer do this, escrow or would this or is this a realtors job?
I am doing as much reading as I can about the whole process. I am sure that it is actually quite a straightfoward process in general but people like to hype up the dangers and complications. There are too many people with a vested interest in the process. Call me cynical if you may. Not to say I am unaware of the dangers and pitfalls.
The title company does that, and they issue 'title insurance' to cover their findings. I should've mentioned that, the title company worker is your valuable partner in this deal; they hold the earnest money in and escrow account for you.

The Realtor pulls all this stuff together for you.. you are taking up a sharp learning curve, but I'm sure you can manage.

In response to Lord Lionheart's post, I think the benefit is generally that the buyer is getting a price that is essentially discounted.
It's also possible for the buyer to have a Realtor (to help them navigate all of the above stuff) and the seller to not have an agent. The buyer's Realtor typically asks for a fee/commission from the seller. I told them 'no' when I was the seller, because I had a line of buyers.
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Originally Posted by Lord Lionheart View Post
But the seller has to pay the 6% not the buyer. An experienced realtor should protect the purchaser and arrange inspections etc. In turn the purchasers realtor gets half the fees from the selling agent.
Unless the seller is offering some great incentives it does the buyer no favors to save the owner 6% realtor fees
Of course it does, as someone who has a property on the market.

I am only looking at the net, if the Buyer in this case wanted to use a Realtor then all I do is up the price.

Buyers pay for everything, directly or indirectly.

We are looking to buy, maybe land and build. But I know enough now to be very careful before I lock myself in to using a realtor to buy.

I am using a realtor to sell, but made sure we negotiated a reasonable fee and that I was very certain of the added value I was getting, too many amateurs out there.
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 8:37 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Originally Posted by Lord Lionheart View Post
But the seller has to pay the 6% not the buyer. An experienced realtor should protect the purchaser and arrange inspections etc. In turn the purchasers realtor gets half the fees from the selling agent.
Unless the seller is offering some great incentives it does the buyer no favors to save the owner 6% realtor fees
the seller 'pays it' but who is paying the seller? - the buyer....

I'm a realtor and in this example one is definitely not needed.

spending 3 mins calling a home inspector does not require a realtor - in fact I would prefer to use a home inspector NOT chosen by the realtor...

just make sure the sales price factors in the fact that 5-6% is not going in listing fees...
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
Of course it does, as someone who has a property on the market.

I am only looking at the net, if the Buyer in this case wanted to use a Realtor then all I do is up the price.

Buyers pay for everything, directly or indirectly.

We are looking to buy, maybe land and build. But I know enough now to be very careful before I lock myself in to using a realtor to buy.

I am using a realtor to sell, but made sure we negotiated a reasonable fee and that I was very certain of the added value I was getting, too many amateurs out there.
Not looking to argue or pass myself off as an expert.
My point is that the buyer should make sure there actually are some incentives,
The OP clearly stated:
He has never done this and is an expat that could be taken in by someone who sees a green, newbie just off the boat, (no disrespect to the OP) and is trying it on.
It's not beyond the realms of possibility that the seller could be greedy, is asking top price for his house and looking to save 6% agent fees................. Jeez
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 9:08 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

The seller pays the real estate agent. The buyer pays the agent nothing. Therefore the seller is getting a discount - some of which should be passed on to you.

You should get the house appraised by a licensed real estate appraiser, so you know what it is worth.
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Yes the mechanics of the transaction should not be a problem, the main point is a fair price.
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 9:16 pm
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Default Re: Buying a home in LA without a realtor

Originally Posted by Mallory View Post
The seller pays the real estate agent. The buyer pays the agent nothing. Therefore the seller is getting a discount - some of which should be passed on to you.

You should get the house appraised by a licensed real estate appraiser, so you know what it is worth.
I would suggest having a contract that has a sales set at an agreed price or the appraised value by your financing-bank approved appraiser minus 10% (at least). whatever is the lower

appraisers are only slightly more competent that the average realtor (isn't saying much)

the appraised value in a lot of cases is a load of bollocks - a house is worth what 'a ready, willing and able buyer' is prepared to pay.

If your house is appraised at $400k and you list it at $360k you can obviously see the appraiser is talking out of his ass....
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