Homeowners who are thinking of buying or selling their home often wonder how to find a real estate agent that’s right for them.
In today’s active real estate market, you may see more houses with for sale signs in their yards than without. People are taking advantage of the low inventory and buyer demand to reap the financial benefit of their home investment, and some are seeing big returns.
You may have considered putting your home on the market but are unsure whether you need the help of a licensed real estate agent to facilitate the sale. There are some misconceptions out there about exactly what a professional, successful REALTOR® can and cannot do, and you need as much information as possible to make the right decision for you.
In a hot seller’s market, it may appear easy to start advertising your home on one of several For Sale By Owner, often referred to as FSBO, websites and sit back and wait for the phone to ring. But there can be many facets of completing a successful transfer of real property – likely one of the biggest financial transactions you’ll undertake in your life – that can lead to disappointment, and worse, financial disaster.
Consider ALL the Positives and Negatives
When you hire a real estate agent to market your home for sale, you’ll pay them a commission, usually between 5% to 7%. The seller pays that fee, not the buyer. Sellers will think that they’ll net that much more percentage in the sales price of their home and opt to undertake the process themselves.
While this can be true, you should consider other factors that may make that goal unattainable. The agent you hire, assuming they have a successful track record selling properties in your area like yours, will present a marketing plan to you. This will include everything they will do to successfully sell your home. There are a lot of sellers out there who thought they would try to sell their homes on their own but decided otherwise after meeting with a real estate agent.
Time is also a factor in selling your home. If you plan on marketing, showing the property and attending to all of the legal paperwork required, you need to be prepared for the number of hours you’ll need to devote to the process for a successful outcome. You’ll need to field phone inquiries, respond to any interest on your internet listings, schedule showings to prospects, arrange for all the necessary documents and more. If you use a REALTOR®, they’ll do all that for you.
The Price is Right…Right?
If you’re selling your home on your own, how will you determine the correct listing price? If your neighbor just sold their home, you likely know what it sold for – or at least you should, if you want to do a FSBO.
But there can be many variables that may have affected that sales price that you don’t know about. Reading real estate publications or looking at listing and sale prices online are one way to see what homes in your neighborhood are selling for, but it’s by far the only method. Setting an unrealistic sales price that is too high will only delay the sale of your home, if a suitable buyer even finds it at all. Pricing your home below its real market value means you will leave money on the table.
An experienced, knowledgeable real estate agent can rely on their history of past and current sales in your community and determine the ideal market price for your home. There is an old real estate adage that says, “there is only one reason a home will not sell, and that’s price.” A REALTOR® can help you obtain the maximum return on your investment.
All About Eyeballs – How Do I Market My Home?
The key to selling your home is getting it in front of as many potential buyers as possible. If you happen to live in an area that offers a large amount of street traffic and a lot of people pass by your property in a desirable neighborhood, placing a FSBO sign in your yard may result in calls to see the home. But the bottom line is the greater number of prospects that see your home, the greater the chances are of a successful sale.
Many people who are deciding whether they should sell their home by themselves learn about listing their property on one or more of several For Sale By Owner websites. Even Craigslist offers property for sale listings, and many larger private communities, most often condominium developments, offer the option to sell a home by owner on their website. The reality is that these websites have much less traffic than sites that can only be used by a licensed agent to list your home.
Real estate agents place all their listings on your region’s Multiple Listing Service, known as MLS, which is a database of available homes for sale in a particular area. All licensed REALTORS not only put their own listings on this service but are able to search and see all other properties on the MLS. That means if someone is working with an agent and looking for a FSBO exactly like yours, they’ll never see it.
There may be access to your local MLS listings through a fee-based service, but once it’s listed, you’ll still need to attend to the details. While there are web-based resources that offer only FSBO listings, the MLS is the main source of homes for sale in your area.
Advertising is not marketing your home. The right agent will have established a vital network of other sales professionals that will most likely have a buyer for your home. Agents that list homes are seldom the agent that actually sells that home – far more often, a different agent brings a buyer to the table. Not hiring an agent will cost you that opportunity for exposure.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Are you able to schedule a proper home inspection service when the prospective buyer requires one? What about qualifying a buyer prior to going through all the financial and legal requirements needed to culminate in a successful transfer of real property?
These are just a few of many things to consider if you’re thinking of selling your home without the assistance of a real estate agent.
Careful analysis of all the elements involved in selling a home needs to be first on your list to avoid unseen roadblocks throughout the process. Many people do sell their homes that way, but it requires a bit of work and a complete grasp of what it requires.