Many see a direct sale from an owner as property's Holy Grail. No estate agents to interfere with the process or charge fees, so it normally means that the house is going to be a pretty good buy, doesn't it?
Quite possibly, but there are a few things to look out for first.
Establish Why The Owner Isn't Using An Agent
It could be simply to save money, but it could also be because local agents have had too much time wasted by them in the past and refuse to deal with them. Beware!
Money Laundering and Property Fraud
Estate agents must carry out quite vigorous money laundering checks to make sure that the owner is isn't up to no good. A private sale could indicate an increased risk of property fraud or money laundering.
So, beware, with no agent to act as buffer between buyer and seller, nerves and indeed tempers, can get frayed during the process which is stressful at the best of times and there will be no third party to mediate.
Estate agent's work does not end when the sale is agreed. They will chase and chivvy the solicitors as much as they can get away with to progress their sale as quickly and smoothly as possible.
With no agent, buyer and seller must do this themselves. But bear in mind that solicitor etiquette forbids discussions between the buyer themselves and seller's solicitor.
So, if you get the chance to purchase a property privately, be aware of the facts at the outset. A little homework at the outset can prevent an awful lot of wasted time and money.