If you’re looking for a home for sale in Baltimore County or Howard County and find one that’s listed as “for sale by owner,” can you buy it when you’re already working with a real estate agent? This guide explains.

Can You Buy a FSBO if You Have a Real Estate Agent?

You absolutely can buy a FSBO if you have a real estate agent – but sellers may see things differently. Some sellers don’t want to work with agents at all because they don’t want to pay commissions, though many do understand that a buyer’s agent’s fee will be part of the deal when they choose to sell their own homes. These sellers also know that all the paperwork will be handled properly (in a way that protects them, as well) and that the buyers an agent brings are qualified to go through with the purchase. If you find a FSBO that you want, your agent will reach out to the seller to determine the best way to move forward. And keep in mind that if a seller flat-out refuses to pay your agent’s commission, that responsibility may fall on you.

But the bottom line is that a buyer’s agent is there to protect you, the buyer. Your REALTOR® will be able to ensure all your paperwork is legal and in good order, and he’ll negotiate with the seller on your behalf. Remember, many people who sell their own homes don’t have the benefit of working with a real estate attorney and REALTOR who can help them come up with just the right price. (For the record, we help people with both – our broker, Jack Cooper, is a licensed attorney and REALTOR, and he often helps people sell their own homes by providing a variety of legal and real estate-related services.)

What if You Signed a Buyer’s Agent Agreement, but You Don’t Want to Pay an Agent’s Commission? 

If you signed a buyer’s agent agreement, that means you agreed to work exclusively with a specific agent for a certain period of time. Many buyer’s agent agreements last six months, though yours may be different. After signing an agreement like this, you’re legally required to work with the other party on any home purchase you make in that period of time. You may have to pay the agent’s commission if the seller is unwilling to do so – or you may choose to broaden your home search until you find another house that you want just as much. You may need to ask yourself some tough questions, such as:

  • Could you negotiate with a seller who refuses to pay a buyer’s agent’s fee?
  • Is the home worth doing all the paperwork yourself? Do you know what paperwork is required?
  • What will happen if issues come up during your inspection that you need the seller to fix?

Of course, if you fall in love with a FSBO and really want to buy it, the best thing to do is to ask your REALTOR to contact the seller and find out how to proceed. You may not even have to worry about a thing – most FSBO sellers are more than happy to work with buyers’ agents.

Are You Buying or Selling a Home in Baltimore County or Howard County?

If you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Baltimore County or Howard County, we can help. Check out these listings:

If you’re thinking about selling your home, we can help you sell it quickly – and at the best possible price. You can:

If you have specific questions, fill out the form below or call us at 443-955-1227 – we’re here to help you with any aspect of your real estate transaction.