Should I use an agent when buying from a FSBO?

9 Replies

I saw a FSBO on Zillow that got my attention and was wondering if I should work directly with the seller or if it would be better to get an agent to represent me? What value could an agent add in this situation? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of either option?

Would love to hear any insights. Thanks!

It would depend on a few things, what your experience and comfortability is, and is the property local to you or not. If its your first deal, using an agent to represent you could be a very good idea, both safer and a learning experience. They will help ensure that your bases are covered, from contracts to inspections. If the property is out of your geographical area, having someone on your side who is local can be priceless. Good luck!

Hi @Yossi Tzemach

That would totally depend on how comfortable you are with whatever contracts you are using and the purchase process in the area. If you have bought 50 houses in that neighborhood and have all the contracts, know the inspectors and the process, then nah. If you have never bought anything there, it may be worth your time.

As far as who pays, that is a discussion your agent should have with the seller before you look at it. let them see if they are paying a cooperating commission. Many FSBO's will pay a buyers agent, they just choose not to list it with one.

Good Luck!

It all depends on you . I have bought 6 out of 7 properties that I own FSBO . All 6 went smoothly . The 1 time I used a agent , it went, lets say OK .

Now a lawyer to represent you would be a good choice 

If you use an agent, the seller may elect to not pay commission, in which case you then would need to negotiate compensation that you pay your agent. What is the asking price of the home? I would probably not use an agent on an FSBO, but it never hurts to ask the seller if they are paying any commissions.

Hi Yossi,

It would depend on a few things. First if the seller is willing to pay a commission to a selling agent and it won't cost you anything. If that's the case than absolutely why wouldn't you.  If they aren't than you would need to ask yourself how comfortable you are with the area and paperwork. Most would recommend that if you don't use an agent you should at least get an attorney which is going to cost you anyway so keep that in mind when determining the cost. Make sure if you do use an agent you find someone who is familiar with both the local market and familiar with FSBOs. I wish I could give you a yes or no answer but there's a lot of variables that come in to play. 

Good Luck


Don't bother with an agent at this point. Your offer will be more attractive without an additional commission to worry about. Make sure that you use the accepted real estate purchase forms for your state, and Google the hell out of the process. You can do it! Get your escrow agent or title lawyer's attention and talk to them. Dang, they charge plenty, try to make sure that they have reviewed everything and see it you can get it done with out paying extra money. I say go for it, DIY guy!!

@Yossi Tzemach How are you going to figure out what the property is really worth vs. the list price? Are you able to structure a transaction that protects you? What contingencies are you going to put in your offer? If you can do all this and more on your own, great. Otherwise, you need assistance. With FSBO you may need to pay for that help yourself... and whether that is an agent or attorney it would be worth every penny.

@Account Closed Interesting that you think the escrow/title folks charge "plenty" enough that they should just take on additional responsibilities and liabilities for free. Not happening.

How confident are you in your negotiating skills?  If you feel pretty good, go tackle it yourself.  If not, be willing to hire the agent as a “Buyer’s Broker”, and be willing to pay their commission, instead of the Seller.  Comes down to “How Much Money Can they Save You By Negotiating A Lower Price, Than You Could Get it For”.  If you agree to pay them 3% and they can get the price down 10%, you made out well...