When you buy a home through a buyer’s agent, you’ll find that much of the annoying paperwork and negotiation is handled for you. As long as you’re working with a good agent, all you really need to do is get a handle on your finances and make sure all paperwork is signed.

However, if you are buying from someone who is selling the home for themselves, a number of complications are added to the mix. As such, you need to be aware of things he needs to do differently when purchasing a property that is for sale by owner.

Get pre-approved for a loan

So you’ve seen the property and you love it. He can see himself living in it for many years, so he must do everything he can to make sure the seller is comfortable that he wants this house.

The best way to do this right away is to get pre-approved for a home loan. Discuss with the seller how much you think the property is worth, and then arrange a loan for something close to that amount, if it’s not on it. This shows the seller that you are a serious buyer and that a bank or lender has enough confidence in you that you can buy the house, instead of just wasting their time.

get it appraised

By buying direct from the owner you will need to make sure you are not getting ripped off. After all, without real estate agents’ fees to worry about, you should be able to get the property for a little less than you would if you were both using a third party.

As such, you should make sure you complete your own property appraisal before signing up for anything. This way you will get an independent opinion about the house that you can use when it comes time to negotiate a price. Be very wary of any seller who won’t allow you to bring people in to view the home for you.

talk to a lawyer

The main barrier to buying a home directly from a seller is the paperwork involved. You can agree to a price on principle, but without supporting documentation, the offer is meaningless. As such, in order to make a proper offer on the property, you will need to ensure that all associated documentation is complete and agreed.

If you’re determined to keep real estate agents out of the transaction, the best thing to do is talk to a lawyer to find out exactly what you need to do to transfer ownership of the property. Different states will have slightly different rules, so it’s important to understand the things you need to do. With this information, you can make a formal offer, and the seller will be more confident that everything will work out.