What’s So Hard About Buying a Home Without an Agent?

In California, there is no legal requirement that a buyer has a real estate agent.  Websites like Zillow and Redfin are making it simple for buyers to stay up-to-date with new listings, and most of the purchase documents and processes are standardized.  So why don’t more buyers skip the agent and pocket the commission for themselves?

California real estate law only allows commissions to be paid out to licensed real estate brokerages.  Even if you were to do all of the work of a traditional agent yourself, and did not have a buying agent representing you, the selling agent would not be able to able to pay you the buying agent’s commission.  Under this scenario, the selling agent would likely pocket the buying agent commission, or try to steer you to a colleague or friend to “represent” you (and pocket the commission). Either way, you would do all of the work, and a real estate agent would get paid the buying agent’s commission.

While in theory you could submit a slightly lower purchase offer to account for the absence of a buying agent’s commission, the listing agent will likely steer their sellers away from such an offer.  So unfortunately, you’re unlikely to ‘earn’ any of the commission by buying your home without an agent (you may still want to go down this route for a more seamless process).

Fortunately, Unlocked is here to help such buyers who’d like a better deal than a traditional agent.  We give buyers 1% of the purchase price cash back! That’s a large portion of the commission back to the buyer (where we think it belongs).  Whatsmore, with Unlocked, you’ll get a full-service buying agent who’ll be able to help you with all aspects of the purchase. We’ve leveraged technology to deliver insight and streamline the process, to help buyers where we think we can add a lot of value (e.g., valuing a property, reviewing the disclosures and submitting a competitive offer).

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Buyers' Guide