Friday, August 28, 2015 / by Bill Berning*
As you prepare to sell your home, you might think that working with a Realtor only means additional fees and costs. However, you might be surprised to learn just how difficult it is to sell a home without professional assistance.
Selling your home is likely to be one of the most expensive and time-consuming decisions that you’ll have to make in your life. Therefore, it is essential that you have a realistic picture of the sales process before you dive into it. Here are some reasons why it’s hard to sell your home on your own.
If you are unsure as to whether you should work with a real estate agent in order to sell your home, you will likely have a better shot at getting the buyer offers that you are looking for if you use an agent. In addition, as a first-time seller, you likely do not have the experience and insight to obtain the best deal.
These are major reasons why working with an agent offers such advantage. However, are there actually any tangible downsides to selling your home on your own? That fact is that, opting not to use an agent can have serious consequences.
Buyer Agents May Not Be Interested
Not working with a real estate agent can severely limit the amount of interest that buyers have in your home. You may find that even if you are receiving inquiries from buyers, they are making low ball offers. This is because that the perception among many real estate agents is that For Sale by Owner (FSBO) properties are at the bottom of the barrel.
“There are only two reasons why I show an FSBO: There is no other inventory available or the price is ridiculously low,” says Bruce Ailion, a realtor with RE/MAX Greater Atlanta. “Every experienced broker has been burned by an FSBO transaction where the seller did not pay the full commission, or any commission at all, to the agent who brought the buyer,” he says. In addition, he says, "FSBO sellers are viewed as unrealistic, unreasonable and difficult sellers whom professional realtors have rejected."
No Access to Real Estate Networks
Unless you have personal access to a network of brokers and buyers in your area, your reach as a seller is highly unlikely to exceed that of a qualified real estate agency. Most real estate agents have spent years developing partnerships. Many real estate agents have thousands of contacts that they can quickly call on to help spread the word quickly when a home is available for sale.
In addition, even if you decide to list your home for sale on popular real estate websites, you are missing out on the personal connections that a real estate agent can bring to your case that will help to sway a buyer in your direction. If you don’t have access to a network of professionals that can help sell your home, trying to sell on your own will likely result in failure or less than stellar results from the sale.
Selling Is Hard
Part of the selling process involves showing your home to prospective buyers. You also have to follow-up with these buyers once they leave in order to determine if they are interested in your property. If you have little to no experience in selling real estate, it will be very difficult for you to determine who actually is a prospective buyer from the time-wasters. Spending time on the wrong prospects can mean missed opportunities for offers.
In addition, how will you know if you priced your home correctly to begin with? “To sell FSBO, you will have to continually monitor the new listings, prices and sales of all homes in your neighborhood. If you need a quick sale, be prepared to drop your price.” says Lisa Abrams, an agent with Re/Max Realty Services in Bethesda. Most homeowners that opt to do FSBO owner end up having to lower prices in order to get interest from buyers.
If you don’t want to worry about having to actually sell your home, leave the job to a real estate agent. Selling a home is typically a full-time job in itself and you may or may not be successful. You also don’t want to have to devote all of your free time to trying to learn real estate when you likely have other obligations to take care of.
Since selling a home is essentially a complex legal process, you don’t want to open yourself up to liabilities by trying to sell on your own. As a seller, it can be difficult to keep track of deadlines and ensure that you have completed the right paperwork. Local regulations can change from year to year and it is the job of a qualified real estate agent to stay on top of these updates.
Unless you are a lawyer, understanding complex legal documents is time-consuming. In addition, overlooking something that may seem minor to you could cause a major legal headache somewhere down the road that could delay the sale of your home.
Regardless of whether you decide to sell your home on your own or via a real estate agent, you must consider if the choice that you make will result in a successful sale. While using a real estate agent does not guarantee that you will get the best outcome, you can greatly improve your odds by doing thorough research before hiring a Realtor. You can also use your experience with a Realtor to get acquainted with the process of real estate and to find a reliable partner for future home sales and purchases.