Save by buying a home for sale by owner

For sale sign with sky in background

It's never been easier to find all of the homes for sale in a particular neighborhood.

Of course, before the Internet, unless you drove street by street looking at for-sale signs, it was far more difficult to get a sense of what homes were available, particularly those being sold without a real estate agent.

Homes for sale by owner used to be marketed almost exclusively in local newspaper ads.

But that's changed, particularly since online real estate services like have cropped up that allow home sellers to post information about their properties -- and even gain access to the Multiple Listing Service, the powerful marketing tool that used to be off-limits to everyone but brokers.

If you're buying a home, you could get a deal going with a home for sale by owner.

It's more work on your end, but National Association of Realtors' data -- trying to demonstrate the value of an agent to sellers -- show homes in 2010 marketed without an agent sold for approximately $60,000 less than homes sold through real estate agents.

Even so, sellers can make more money on the sale than they normally would because they forgo the average 6% commission fee most agents charge. Agent-sold homes do tend to sell more quickly, a Stanford University study found.

Since they have the resources to showcase their homes for sale, sellers are gaining confidence in going through the process without Realtor assistance.

Some use real estate attorneys for the paperwork and to work through the closing process. But legal fees often prove to be less than the agent's commission.

A real estate attorney is also a wise move for the buyer (if you don't have your own real estate agent) to ensure the transaction is executed properly and all closing documents are attended to in a timely, accurate manner.

Before you attempt make any purchase, you should learn how to find the best mortgage and then get preapproved for a loan.

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