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How to Buy a House Privately (Even If It’s Not For Sale)

Mar 16, 2018



A couple had their eye on their neighbor’s property for some time. They wanted to buy it privately.  They knew the owners, and over the course of two years, had talked with them about buying. The owner would finally name a price, and the couple, suddenly under the gun, felt extreme pressure and felt it was too high. Waiting for the proverbial needle in a haystack so-to-speak, that was not what they expected added more in the way of disappointment. 

Suddenly, they listed their property. The couple, again delved into the price and their personal financial situation. 


“We want to buy it,” the couple said, “but we have to sell our house first!”

“Sorry,” the owners said, “we need to sell it and don’t want to wait.”

After two years of being in no particular hurry, suddenly their hair was on fire to sell their house.

The couple scrambled to make it work, but in the time they were talking, the mortgage rules had changed, interest rates had gone up, and it was not as feasible for them to buy as it would have been just one year earlier.

They were greatly frustrated and upset about how that worked out.

Here’s the thing; real estate is an opportunistic industry.

The way these property owners were in no hurry for a long time and then suddenly and immediately insistent on selling as soon as possible – that’s an everyday occurrence.  It happens all the time. One day, there are no plans to sell (or buy) and in the blink of an eye.... "life happens"; a health issue requires a sudden change of living arrangements, job loss, family issues etc. 

Which is one of the things that makes buying privately so difficult. Real Estate is also very emotional for all involved. It can be very difficult for the parties to be "grounded" pushing the emotion to the side looking at it from the factual point of view. 



How to Buy a House Privately (Even When It’s Not For Sale)


Most of the time, people look at a property and think, “Oh, I like this house, so I’ll buy it. Perfect.”

In reality, it’s rarely ever that easy.

It’s more like looking through a window at a bright blue sky with its puffy white clouds and feeling inspired, and then stepping outside into the actual air of it and discovering the air quality is horrible and filled with a putrid smell that makes your toes curl, and you realize those clouds are actually pollution clouds. Ugh!

Real estate is a bit like that. Things aren’t always as they seem.


Instead of going in starry-eyed and hopeful, get yourself solidly prepared to buy that house you’re eyeing.

  1. Get your finances in order.
    make sure your bills are paid, your credit is in good shape, and you have sufficient income to support payments on that property. Also, make sure you've got your deposit and down payment ready to go. 

  2. Get pre-approved

    Especially now that the mortgage rules have tightened, it’s critical to get pre-approved before even THINKING about window shopping for a home. Interests rates are going up, rules are tight, and it’s more difficult to get a mortgage now than it has been in years. 

    (Special note: Preapproval and Prequalification are totally different. More on that here.)



           Grab this free pre-approval checklist
           to get all your financial ducks in a row


  3. Get ready to sell

    If you need to sell your house before buying another, get that ball rolling before making an offer on the new one. Speak to a Real Estate Agent and see what suggestions are given to have your home sell for the most money possible and you will also know the state of the market and how much you could sell for. Clean the house. Paint it. Replace worn or dated flooring. Whatever you need to do to get it sale-ready, do it. The Real Estate Agent can advise on what is best.  Then list it or, at the very least, be ready to list it.



NOW you’re ready to make a solid offer and start the process of buying that property. Until these things are done, you’re just wasting everyone’s time and setting yourself up for a big frustration.


When the couple came to me with all this, they were ready to start the buying process the right way. That’s when we sat down and began at the beginning, looking at their goals, timelines, wishes, wants, affordability, and all the other things we get a pulse on before shopping. THEN, once we had an idea of what they wanted, we could go look for it. I put a formal plan together for them, and we made it happen.


Whether you’re buying from a private seller or buying a listed property, the process is the same – you need to start at the beginning and get your finances ready before making that offer. 


Have you ever bought a house privately?
Did it go well?




Category: Buying a Home

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