Profile picture for sarandip303

We don't need to get a loan; how can we evaluate $value of home?

We are first-time home buyers, who have enough saved to actually pay for a reasonably priced home in the Syracuse, NY area. After looking at various homes, our agent - a personal acquaintance - showed us his home, which is going to be on the market (not yet listed). He offered it to us at a "special" discount (more than 10K less than the amount he said he will list it at) because he is anxious to sell it, get the equity (and... we are known to him). It is actually the house we liked the best - and he knows we are interested. Inside, he's done amazing renovations: completely gorgeous kitchen, new half bath, new furnace, water heater, etc. (all of which made it v. attractive to us). Of course, we will get an inspection done. The house has some minor problems: concrete on path leading up to front steps is damaged; small garage is not well-maintained/siding falling off/more of a shed); some exterior/interior painting needs to be completed. The roof will need replacement within 2-5 years (agent says projected price took this into account). 

Since we are not from the US, this whole process is unfamiliar to us. 
Will you please give us some pointers on how best to proceed? I want to know if we can get an evaluation on the house's value, if we do not get a loan from a bank. It's difficult to know whether the value we are being offered is a "real" reflection of the market value for a home in that area, given all the renos he's done. Not many sales in the area in recent times (SYR economy is never very stable). A few homes (about 5 of them) in the area (close to SYR's small 'downtown') have been renovated and sold for 180k-210K. The rest, if we look around, are all >100k, but sold a while back, and probably didn't have updates. Zillow shows that he purchased the house a year ago at $97K and added the updates.
  • April 23 - Near Westside
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Answers (4)

Profile picture for sarandip303
Thanks people for the quick answers! 
We have the name of an independent inspector, but need to get an independent appraisal, too. 
Will look into getting an agent to represent us, seeing as we know so little about the process.
  • April 23
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Getting an agent to represent you would be a good start (as mentioned below). The contract should be subject to an appraisal and home inspection, meaning you have the opportunity to either renegotiate the price or walk from the contract if your appraisal does not meet the value you are paying. 

For the home inspection, contact a local certified home inspector. They can walk through with an independent eye and point out items of note and/or concern. For an appraisal, you can either contact a local certified appraiser and in some areas you can contact an independent broker for a Broker's Price Opinion. 

With the home inspection report and the appraisal you can feel more confident in your decision.

 
  • April 23
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Even though he is your agent, I suggest that you tell him that you are not comfortable with him representing himself as seller and you as buyer. You should really get another agent to represent you to avoid any conflict of interest.
A buyer agent will normally evaluate any home you want to buy and demonstrate what it's value is based on recent comparable sale.
An independent valuation by an appraiser would also be a good safeguard in this situation.
  • April 23
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Profile picture for Outer Banks N C
When you write up an offer make sure you have an inspection period or due diligence period in the contract. Also make sure the sale is contingent on an appraisal and be sure you contact an appraiser to do it for you, this is your protection on the price.
  • April 23
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