There’s more than one way to skin a homeowner. I’m not here to tell you you can’t or shouldn’t buy or sell your home all by your lonesome. You don’t need a real estate agent. But I will tell you that there are many ins, outs, ups, and downs in a real estate transaction, and the many benefits of having an experienced professional has immense value. Weigh the risks and let the dollars fall where they may.
Then there are the brokerages. Everything from full service to a flat fee for minimal services. There are companies now that will pay you cash for your home and can close in seven days. Their business model is to buy low, fix up, and sell high. Their market is the sellers who want convenience over top dollar. There’s a place in the market for that and I wish them well.
I just read about another one that’s kind of doing a “lease-to-own” thing. Basically, they buy a house, put you in it, and you pay rent, plus a premium, for a couple years. At the end of the term, they will apply the premium to your down payment, and you can buy the home outright, right? This can be very tempting for a first-time homebuyer, just inches away from qualifying otherwise. But there’s a catch (or three)…
What if you don’t qualify in two years? What if the market goes way down and it’s not worth what you initially agreed to? What if the market goes up? Is the seller still obligated to sell it at the original price? It might work out just fine, but what if?
There’s a shoe for every foot, and a seat for every fanny. All I’m suggesting is that you make double extra sure you know what you’re getting into before the contract is slipped under your nose. It’s always a ride. And it’s never free.