Can You Buy a Home without a Real Estate Agent in Florida?

Can You Buy a Home without a Real Estate Agent in Florida?

We explore what’s involved if you choose to buy a home without a realtor, and why you shouldn’t.

Curious if you can buy a home without a real estate agent? In Florida, yes, you can legally purchase a home without a real estate agent or representative. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.

Before continuing on, it’s important to note that typically a buyer’s real estate agent is paid for by the seller at closing.

If you are reading this article because you think it will cost you money to have a buyer’s representation, you should call an agent right away to discuss.

Before You Continue

This article will explain the process of buying a home without a real estate agent.

It will also explain what you may be missing out on by not having an agent working for you.

How to Buy a House without a Realtor

Before jumping into the home-buying process without a realtor, make sure that you understand what exactly this venture will entail.

1. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

First, you’ll need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. The process may look different, depending on whether you’re seeking a conventional mortgage, a USDA loan, an FSA loan, or a VA loan. Research mortgage companies online or set up an appointment with your local bank or credit union.

If you’re planning to purchase a home with cash, you don’t need a mortgage pre-approval letter. However, you may need a letter from your bank or bank statements to demonstrate your purchasing power.

How a Realtor Would Help

A realtor can recommend mortgage lenders and help explain your different loan options. They’ve walked buyers through the home-buying process before, so they understand how securing financing works from start to finish.

2. Find Properties to Visit & Schedule Appointments

Next, you need to locate the homes that you’d like to visit and set up appointments. Use websites like Zillow, Redfin, and to find properties. Listing websites will show upcoming open houses and offer a point of contact for scheduled appointments.

Be sure to read up on home-buying etiquette before a showing to ensure you show respect to the sellers and the listing agents.

How a Realtor Would Help

Realtors understand property values, know where the best schools are, and have insight into neighborhoods. And, not only can they provide you with all of this valuable first-hand knowledge, but they also have access to a Multiple Listings Service (MLS).

The MLS gives realtors accurate and up-to-date information about property listings. For example, homes may pop up in an MLS before appearing on websites the general public can access. In a competitive market, being one of the first buyers to learn of a listing could make a huge difference.

The MLS may also have private information that the general public cannot see. For example, the listing agent may state in the broker notes that the sellers need to occupy the space for the next 6 months, or that there are certain upcoming assessments on a home.

Buyer’s realtors will also schedule home showings and manage communication with the listing agent. Plus, they’ll accompany you during showings, pointing out features of the home that you might overlook, offering information about the neighborhood, and answering your questions.

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Finding a real estate agent that understands your needs is the first step to a successful real estate transaction. Here at SquareFootHomes we take extra care to make sure our clients are completely satisfied.

Connect with one of our agents today so we can get to know one another.

3. Ask for a Seller’s Property Disclosure

Request the seller’s property disclosure from the seller’s realtor. This document outlines all known issues with the property. In Florida, it must include facts and conditions about the property that impact its value or desirability that others (like you, a potential buyer) can’t see for themselves.

How a Realtor Would Help

A realtor understands the red flags to look out for on a seller’s disclosure. They also understand how the known issues affect the home’s value, and, ultimately, your offer.  They may also have access to this document without needing to request it, as it’s often posted in the “documents” section of the MLS, which is not shared on popular home search websites.

4. Make an Offer

After you identify the home that you’d like to purchase, it’s time to make an offer.

In Florida, the offers we submit are actual contracts for a home that needs to be accompanied by the correct corresponding riders.  If the seller accepts your offer, you are immediately under contract on the home.  Understanding how to submit a proper offer in FL is imperative, otherwise, a listing agent will not take your offer seriously.

Submit the offer letter directly to the seller’s realtor or to the seller if it’s a for-sale-by-owner property.

Here are the forms we most commonly use when submitting an offer in Florida Today.

AS IS Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase (FloridaRealtors_FloridaBar-ASIS-6) (Rev 10_21) (1)
CR-6 – Appraisal Contingency Rider F (Rev 10_21)
CR-6 – Homeowners Association_Community Disclosure Rider B (Rev 10_21)
CR-6x A – Condominium Association Disclosure Rider

This is not a comprehensive list of forms and/or contracts used for residential sales.  Every purchase is different and may require additional forms, which is why you really should have a realtor when considering submitting an offer on a home.

How a Realtor Would Help

Your realtor will talk through the offer letter with you, offering their insight about the market and home values. They can recommend an offer price that fits your budget while remaining competitive. Plus, they know what contingencies and seller concessions are realistic based on the market and the property.

An offer letter kickstarts negotiations, so having an expert on your side could be the difference between securing your dream home or being denied upfront.

5. Hire a Home Inspector

The home inspection period begins as soon as both parties sign the sales contract. You’ll want to find and hire an inspector to inspect the home during that window. Then, you need to review their report and decide what you want to do.

How a Realtor Would Help

Realtors can recommend local inspection companies, including companies that offer any specialized inspections you may want or need. They can also accompany the inspector and look out for your interests. Plus, they’ll keep you on schedule, ensuring you get everything submitted within the inspection period.

Most importantly, a realtor will talk through the inspection report with you and offer advice on what you should do. This might include contacting contractors for estimates for needed repairs so that you can quote realistic figures during negotiations. Ultimately, they understand what items on an inspection report are red flags, what repairs aren’t worth requesting, and how the inspection report can frame your negotiations.

6. Negotiate with the Seller

After the home inspection, you can move forward with the sale as-is, request repairs, request reimbursement for the cost of repairs, ask for a reduced sale price, or cancel the sale.

If the inspection report reveals issues with the home but you’re still interested in purchasing it, you’ll need to negotiate with the seller. As you decide what to ask for, focus on the cost of any needed updates or major repairs that weren’t mentioned in the seller’s disclosure. Don’t fret about small items, such as scuff marks on the hardwood or dinged light fixtures.

Negotiations may go back and forth a few times, depending on what you’re asking for and what the seller is willing to offer you. Both parties must sign the finalized deal.

How a Realtor Would Help

It’s hard to keep emotions at bay during negotiations, especially when you really want the home. Realtors are professional negotiators. They’ll keep cool as they ask for what you want while still staying within your budget. Plus, they know the difference between realistic and idealistic requests, which can help with getting the seller to take your negotiated offer seriously.

7. Finalize Financing & Close on the Home

Finally, it’s time to finalize your financing and close on the home. After verifying the home’s appraisal value and finishing underwriting, your lender will send you a Closing Disclosure. The document outlines your loan terms, closing costs, interest rate, and other important details. If you’re happy with everything, let your lender know and schedule the closing.

Keep in mind that in Florida, you don’t have to have an attorney present to close on a home, but you may still want to hire one, especially if you’re not using a buyer’s realtor.

How a Realtor Would Help

A realtor will guide you through the final stretch, ensuring you have all of the necessary paperwork in order. If any issues come up, they can problem-solve and communicate with any involved parties. Plus, they may sit with you during the closing to finalize the transaction and answer any questions you may have.

So, Should You Buy a House without a Realtor in Florida?

No, You Need Someone to Represent Your Interests

Buyers really NEED representation. Listing agents and the seller’s brokerage have a fiduciary responsibility to the seller. In other words, they must act in the best interest of the person selling the home. They aren’t obligated to act in your best interests. If you decide to buy a home without a realtor, the only person looking out for your interests is yourself, and in todays environment that is not a sound decision to make.

A realtor will look out for you, explain the process (including lending, title work, and inspections), track deadlines, guide you through negotiations, and see the sale through to closing.

No, Because Using a Buyer’s Agent is Paid for By The SELLER

Did you know that home buyers don’t usually pay their realtors?

It’s true! The seller foots the bill. Typically, the seller pays his real estate agent (the listing agent) a certain percentage of the home sale price—often 6 percent. Then, the listing agent splits the commission with the buyer’s agent. If you don’t have a buyer’s agent, that 3 percent isn’t deducted from the sale’s price. Instead, the seller’s agent will likely pocket the entire 6 percent commission.

In other words, using a buyer’s agent doesn’t usually cost you money, and not using a buyer’s agent doesn’t save you any money.

Realtors Often Have Information That Is Not Public

The MLS allows for certain information to be shared between agents, without being public.  What you find on Zillow or are just what the listing agent has wanted to make public.  Private notes are usually included on the MLS and not shared publicly, along with certain documentation you may want to see about the home prior to purchase.  For example, the agent may share privately a copy of a survey, home floorplans, covenants and restrictions of the HOA, the most recent fiscal year budget, and other details of the home.

Final Thoughts on Buying a Home without a Realtor

The home-buying process requires a lot of work. Unless you’re a realtor or have experience purchasing properties, you’re bound to encounter problems and make a few mistakes. And since buying a home is often the largest purchase you’ll ever make, those mistakes can be costly. An experienced realtor will help you navigate the home-buying process and guide you every step of the way.

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