With so much information available online, many homeowners entertain the idea of selling their property without an agent. Before you decide to go it alone, consider these key points:
REALTORS ARE LICENSED PROFESSIONALS
We are taught and tested by governing agencies of the state, and must operate under strict laws put forth by such. We are required to complete continuing education credits, and are constantly learning. Think all agents do is stick a sign in the yard, hold an open house, and fill out a couple of papers? Keep in mind that plenty of professions look easy when you aren't the one performing them.
EXPOSURE TO PROSPECTIVE BUYERS
Selling a home isn't like listing your used Chevy on Craigslist. Online Marketing is where Realtors truly shine. Without access to the local MLS (multiple listing service) your home will miss the large majority of active buyers. Most agents have their own proven marketing strategy, often combining custom online and print materials to bring attention to your listing.
GET READY TO NEGOTIATE
There are far more parties to a sale than just the buyer and seller. Here is a short list of some of the people you can expect to encounter throughout the transaction: the buyer, who wants the best deal possible; the buyer's agent, who represents the best interest of the buyer; the inspector, who is hired by the buyer and will almost always find something wrong with the house; the buyer's lender, who must ensure they don't loan more than the home is worth; the appraiser, who is hired by the buyer's lender and almost always values your home at less than you do; and the title insurance company, who must ensure you indeed own your home and have the legal right to sell it. Now as you can imagine, getting all of these parties to the metaphorical closing table can be quite a circus. The job of the Realtor is to be the ringleader.
CONTRACTS, AGREEMENTS AND DISCLOSURES, OH MY!
A typical home sale requires a stack of legal contracts that rival a collegiate dissertation. If you are not explicitly familiar with every line of every contract and disclosure, you are putting yourself at risk, legally and financially. A licensed Realtor is the best resource for the most recent regulations on industry contracts and disclosures.
COST VERSUS SAVINGS
The largest reason homeowners attempt to sell on their own is to save the cost of the commission. Most likely though, you’ll still end up paying the buyer’s agent commission. Buyers, especially first-timers, want guidance from an agent and therefore rarely purchase a home unrepresented. Moreover, studies have shown that homes sold by agents typically sell for 10 to 25 percent more than those sold by the homeowner. This is largely due to pricing, exposure and negotiations. Is “saving” on the commission worth the “cost” of selling your home for less than top dollar?
So, what is the bottom line? Before you place that red and white “For Sale By Owner” sign in your front yard, consider our advice. Meet with a licensed Realtor—or two or three—in your area and see what we have to offer. What do you have to lose?