I’ve become a fan of Pinterest in the last few months. I find a lot of interesting information there, have tried a bunch of new recipes I found there, and just enjoy browsing through the posts when I have some time to spare.
One of the topics I follow is, of course, real estate! For buyers, sellers, homeowners, there’s a ton of information on Pinterest! And of all the posts there, one topic I see frequently is how to save money by selling your home by yourself, or as we say in the business, FSBO–For Sale by Owner. There’s a whole lot of information online about how to do it, where to market, save money, etc. But one thing that almost never gets discussed is the downside of selling your home without representation by a Realtor. And there is definitely a downside! Here are a few things to consider before deciding to sell your home yourself.
- Your local market. How well do you know your local market? And by local, I mean not only your city, but your area, sometimes even your neighborhood. Are values up, down, or steady? What homes have sold recently–i.e. in the last 6 months? For how much? How did the final sale price compare to the list price? What concessions, if any, did the seller give to the buyer? What was the average days on market for those properties? How many price changes did a home have between original listing and contract? How many homes are on the market now in your neighborhood? What is the absorption rate? These are all things a Realtor will be able to tell you to help you determine where to position your home in the market.
- Price/Market Position. How will you determine your list price? There are many online resources that can give you an idea, but they don’t know your area like a Realtor does. Their estimates are based solely on stats, and do not take into consideration the particulars of your home and neighborhood. If you overprice, you will miss a segment of potential buyers. If you underprice, you may sell quickly, but you might end up with less in your pocket than you could have with a more accurate market position.
- Marketing and showing your property. Are you prepared to allow total strangers into your home unaccompanied? Will you allow a realtor to show your home to a potential buyer? Are you willing to pay a fee to a realtor who brings a buyer for your home? Are you prepared to answer questions about the property? How will you let potential buyers know about the home? What is your marketing strategy? Are you prepared to be available to set up showing appoinments and be home/available when buyers come? Do you know how to prepare your home for showing?
- Evaluating an offer or offers. What are your terms for sale? Do you know how to evaluate the pros and cons of an offer you may receive? What about multiple offers? How will you deal with that scenario? How will you know if a potential buyer is qualified and able to complete the transaction?
- Contracts and legal stuff. The contract form used by Texas Realtors is 9 pages and 23 paragraphs long. It addresses most all the possibilities that could arise in a transaction and how those possibilities are to be resolved. As an unrepresented seller, you are not allowed to use that contract form, but if a realtor brings a buyer for your home, he or she will present an offer on that form. Do you understand all the terms of the contract and how they affect your position as well as the buyer’s? A contract, when signed by all parties, is a legally binding document. Are you entering into this transaction with full understanding of your position and what happens if …….?
These are all things that a Realtor who represents you in the sale of your home will handle on your behalf. We do a lot behind the scenes to ensure that transactions proceed smoothly and close on time. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish! If you’re thinking about selling your home, contact a Realtor! We can’t eliminate all the hassles, but we can minimize them and help you through the process!