You are better off using a realtor.. a realtor will be able to know the legalities of the real estate transaction, will be able to draw up the legal paperwork, work with title companies, do negotiations and also take you on walk throughs. You can't go into many homes for sale without a realtor.. many sellers will only allow realtors to enter their home with prospective buyers. The seller will pay your realtor a commission.. it will cost you nothing accept around $350-$400 for the home inspection. In this market, your realtor can even negotiate the closing costs being picked up by the seller. Make sure that when hiring a realtor though.. do your homework on the realtor. Ask questions, get a referred realtor.. ask for references of people the realtor sold homes for in the past.. also ask the realtor about their portfolio. If they say they sold 20 homes in 2007, ask out of how many they listed. They could have sold 20 out of 20 listed.. a good thing. But if they sold 20 out of 60 listings.. that is bad. Make sure your realtor is experienced. Newbies are money hungry and take any deal that is thrown at them, without doing their homework on the deal or the buyer first. Unfortunately, when I sold my home, I got stuck with a terrible realtor that ended up costing me over $40k in losses because of bad judgement on her part. Best of Luck.