Selling a House Without a Realtor: Should You Do It?
All across the United States, real estate markets are starting to show signs of life after a prolonged recession that started in 2009. For homeowners who have waited patiently to sell their homes, the opportunity to do so has finally arrived. While new construction sales seem to be outpacing resales, it’s only a matter of time before prospective buyers start looking for value in the resale market.
Preparing to Sell your Home
Selling a home is a complicated process. You have to do more than stick a sign in your front yard and wait for someone with money to knock on your door. What you need to do is start making some important decisions about how you are going to derive maximum value from the sale. There are little things you can do that might help. Those things include upgrades to your landscape, bathrooms and kitchens as well as giving your house a good old fashioned cleaning. Perhaps the most important decision you will have to make is whether or not to hire a real estate agent.
Reasons You Might Want to Handle Selling Your House on Your Own
The most obvious reason you might want to sell your house as a “for sale by owner” or FSBO transaction is to save the amount of commissions you would normally be obligated to pay your own real estate agent. The savings usually amounts to 2-4% of the sales price. The only other viable reason for you to choose the FSBO option is if you have a “sweetheart” deal in place, meaning you’re selling to someone you already know, making real estate agents unnecessary on both sides.
Reasons Why It’s Best to Use a Real Estate Agent
As stated above, selling real estate is a complicated process. There is a number of legal and tax issues that need to be considered in conjunction with the financial aspects of the sale. The simple truth is that most persons likely lack the knowledge to understand all of the intricacies of the process. When you consider that you might not keep any of the savings your receive by cutting out a realtor’s commission if you make a mistake or get out-negotiated by the buyer’s agent, you might realize it just isn’t worth the risk. Not to mention there are often still fees associated with legal and tax documents that you will have to navigate on your own. With that said, here is a list of reasons why a real estate agent might be the best choice to help hygb bsell your home.
1. Emotions – Regardless of your motives, selling a home tends to be an emotional experience. In order to negotiate the best possible price, it becomes a game of poker. Your real estate agent has no emotional attachment to the process. Therefore, they should be better able to play the game without allowing emotions to get in the way.
2. Time Constraints – Unless you are retired, disabled or unemployed, you aren’t going to be able to devote the time needed to properly market and show the home at times that are convenient to prospective buyers and their agents. Your agent is also better prepared to know whether or not a potential buyer is a real buyer or just a lookie-lou, which is a great time saver.
3. Marketing Resources – It is almost a certainty that your real estate agent has an established marketing network in place for the listing of your property. This might include a Facebook page, a devoted or shared website, mailing lists for both email and print marketing and a network of other agents who interact on a regular basis for the purpose of sharing leads.
4. Real Estate Experience – A licensed real estate agent is trained in all facets of homes sales. They understand the legal aspects of the process, have experience in negotiating price and better understand current market conditions. They also know what’s driving the market and can help stage your home for maximum appeal.
5. Legal Risks – As indicated earlier, there are laws in place related to the buying and selling of property. By handling the paperwork and dealing with escrow agents and appraisers on your behalf, agents effectively transfer liability issues from you to themselves and/or their agency.
6. Dealing With Buyer’s Agent – As strange as it may sound, some real estate agents don’t want to get involved in a FSBO sale. They know all to well that the process is apt to become bogged down by your inexperience. Instead, they choose to only deal with other licensed real estate agents.
When the time comes to sell your house, you should think about selling it on your own. Then, you need to go out and enlist the services of a licensed real estate agent. On the risk/reward continuum, the odds are you are going to end up with a better deal if you leave the process to the pros.