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DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Real Estate Question: Owner as agent--how does this affect a transaction?

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11203 points ) July 30th, 2011

I saw a house listed that stated :owner as agent. For some reason, it felt a bit “intimidating” to me in the sense of attempting to put in a bid on a house. The house seems a bit high for the area. It is not in a small town and it is much higher than real estate of that age for that area. (It’s an older house). But I really do like it. Because I keep finding houses I like that have this listed, I would like some advice.

1. Where can I find out what the house sold for originally? (If I don’t live in the area?)
2. How (in this crazy market) do you calculate an offer (I don’t want to offend the seller especially if they are an agent.)
3. Do I get someone to act as a “buyer’s agent” when approaching an “owner agent”....or do I contact the owner/agent directly to handle the deal? ( In other words, will that help with the negotiations/price,etc. I would think that it would put me at a disadvantage?)
4. How do you arrive at an offer price? Is there a formula?

I would appreciate any help and/or advice.

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8 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

1. In the US, these are public records held at the town hall / city hall. You could simply ask the seller (and then follow up by checking). (We also have Zillow.com in the US, which makes a lot of these records much more accessible. I don’t know if Zillow works in the UK yet or not.)

2. Do “comps”. Compare this house to similar (in the area) and base your offer on that, minus a bit for negotiating room.

3. I think I would use a buyer’s agent, simply because of my lack of experience, and the size of the investment.

4. SWAG: Scientific Wild-Ass Guess.

Cruiser's avatar

The owner/agent is simply disclosing this fact as they are required to. You are essentially not at any disadvantage you would otherwise be or not be in had they been By Owner or for sale by a hired broker.

Do not lose sight of the fact that this “broker/owner” is attempting to sell at a never before seen depression in the Real Estate market. They must want out and are probably prepared to seriously consider any good offer and that is key to getting the best buy….make your offer seamless and iron clad no contingencies and that house will be yours if you want it!..

Judi's avatar

Hire your own agent to present the offer for you. They are usually paid by the seller.

JLeslie's avatar

They have to disclose they are agents by law most likely. It will be on all the contracts also if you do decide to buy it. It is basically a disclosure letting the buyer in this case (if an agent buys they have to disclose it to the seller also) know that they are savvy about the market.

The best place to get sales information is on the county property appraiser/assessor website. Many of the sites now have a place to look at recent sales data in that neighborhood. If you put in the specific address it will show you the specific sales information for that property. The only reason it might be “inaccurate” is if the owner built the house, and bought the land separate from building the house. Then the recorded sales price might be the land price only, but the apprasal would be an estimate of what the house was worth if you look at old tax amounts. But, many times assessment done for taxes is off by several thousand dollars.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

This house is not a new house..it was built in the 20’s/30’s…but it is very nicely done. However, I know by doing some research that this house…is way above in interior perks than its neighbors. In other words, this house is probably the most expensive in the neighborhood by quite a bit. Does this also affect a selling price? If there is no mortgage owed on it, is there more leverage?

Thanks so much for the info so far….it’s incredibly helpful. Lurve coming.

YARNLADY's avatar

The only thing that actually affects the selling price is how much the buyer is willing to pay. Nothing else counts.

The term “buyers agent” is misleading, because the selling and buying agents are both paid a percentage of the sales price, by the seller. A true “buyers agent” would not receive any proceeds from the sale, but be paid a fee by the buyer. This does type of service is probably not available.

The sellers agent and the buyers agent are both dependent on getting the highest price for the sale, in order to benefit themselves.

If there is extensive remodeling done to the house, such as electricity or rooms added, make sure they were done with all the required permits.

JLeslie's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus When a house is overimproved, meaning many more upgrades then the neighbors, the seller is supposed to lose out on the resale. Being the most expensive in a neighborhood is risky, because most people in that price range are in a different neighborhood. The one exception is if houses are in the process of being torn down and teh neighborhood is changing to be more upscale.

Since it was built so long ago you should be able to easily get the sales information on how much the owner paid on the county website. Keep in mind current market value is much more important than whatever he paid.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Everyone….....fantastic and helpful information….am truly more informed now. Thanks so much for all your answers!

More lurve coming to recent answers…. ! And thanks again…!

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