A home is one of the most expensive purchases you'll ever make, so it makes sense you should enlist the help of an expert –in this case, a real estate agent— to make the best decisions possible. At the same time, though, every real estate transaction doesn't require you to go through an agent. Here are two times when you can save some money and purchase a home without a realtor.
You Have Intimate Knowledge of the Home and Seller
The main reason why you should hire a real estate agent to assist with your home purchase is because you'll be dealing with a lot of unknowns. Most of the time, you won't know anything about the sellers or the homes you're looking at. An experienced real estate agent can spot red flags and help steer you away from potentially problematic people and houses that may cost you more in the long run.
However, this may not be as much of an issue if you already have intimate knowledge about the home and the person selling it. This is typically the case when people are buying homes from family members or long-time friends. In this situation, having a real estate agent may not be necessary, because you'll already know the home issues and can probably negotiate more easily with someone you love and trust.
For instance, your sister is selling her home, a home you've been in numerous times and who's repair history you have intimate knowledge of through your sibling's complaints and struggles. In this instance, you may be able to get away with purchasing the home from your sister directly, since the risk of things going sideways is fairly low.
You should still do your due diligence and research the process of homebuying if you know nothing about it. Find a homebuying checklist to follow, which can ensure you miss anything important, such as buying title insurance.
It's a Simple Transaction
Another situation where you may not need a real estate agent is if the transaction amounts to a simple property transfer. For example, you're purchasing your neighbor's home for the land and plan to demolish the structures on it, then you may be more in need of a real estate attorney rather than an agent.
Again, though, you should have a pretty good idea of what you're getting into and be willing to do any and all research necessary to ensure the transaction goes well and that you're not being taken advantage of.
Be aware that you can hire an agent at any time during the process. So, if you start off wanting to go solo but feel you're in over your head, contact a local real estate agent for assistance.