Selling your own home can be a lot of work, but the savings could be worth it. Like all major decisions, there are advantages and disadvantages to bypassing a real estate agent and striking it out on your own.
However, is it the right choice for you? It could be if you stay organized and remain patient throughout the process. But if you’re in a rush to sell and don’t remain diligent, then you could be better off with a real estate agent.
Here are some aspects to consider when deciding if selling your own home is the right choice for you.
It’ll Still Cost You To Market Your Home
When a real estate agent lists a home for sale, it goes on the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. This is a database that can be accessed by other real estate agents in the local area. Your MLS listing can be found on other real estate websites and accessed by thousands of real estate agents and, by extension, millions of potential buyers online.
You’ll receive a lot of exposure on the MLS and the work a listing agent will work on your behalf to market your property. If you were to sell your own home, the property won’t be listed in the MLS.
A study conducted by the National Association of REALTORS found that 90% of home buyers went searching online for listings and information during the home buying process. That means it’s a good idea to have your listing on as many large websites as possible so that it has a higher chance of being found. In this case, you may be able to negotiate with a real estate agent to list your home on the MLS for a flat fee, which can be a few hundred dollars.
Other costs can include taking photographs for your listing, staging your home and preparing flyers and other items when hosting an open house. If you’re not willing to do the research, you might need to get an appraiser to advise you on the market value of your home so you can figure out how much to list it for.
You’ll Need To Handle All Negotiations
A real estate agent acts as the middleman between all negotiations between the parties, including the buyer’s agent, escrow and title agents, the real estate attorney and the financing institution. If you were to sell your home yourself, you’ll need to handle all negotiations.
This means you’ll need to learn the ins and outs of the negotiation process – it’s not just about price. You’ll need to look at a buyer’s offer and requests to see if you’re getting a good deal, including negotiating for repairs when a home inspection is completed. Understanding each step of the negotiation and closing process is crucial so you can meet all legal requirements when selling your own home.
Real Estate Attorneys Can Be A Life Saver
Speaking of hiring a real estate attorney, your state may legally require you to have one – something else you’ll need to pay for when selling your home. Even still, you may want the help of a professional on your side.
There could be lingo you’ll need to understand, such as what the buyer’s and seller’s rights are. Hiring a real estate attorney can help you navigate paperwork and give advice on the legality of the closing process. Unless you’re extremely experienced in real estate legal documents, you don’t want to risk overlooking forms or disclosures that could result in a lawsuit or the whole transaction falling through.
It Can Take A Lot of Time
It’s a real estate agent’s job to sell homes, so these professionals can be available most hours to show homes, handle negotiations and helping sellers navigate paperwork throughout the closing process.
What this means for you is you might have to drop what you’re doing at a moment’s notice to show your home to prospective buyers or answer their questions. Don’t forget the time it could take you to research a fair market value for your home, take photos and stage it. You’ll also need to be home during open houses if you choose to go that route.
Then there’s the negotiation process and making sure you’ve handled all parts of the closing process within the required time frames of your contract.
Generally speaking, the longer the home is on the market, the less it will sell for. So be prepared to dedicate time to sell or else you may be forced to drop the price to encourage buyers.
It can be really tempting to think that selling a home without a real estate agent is a walk in the park – you need to be realistic about how much time and effort it takes. If you take all factors into consideration and would rather not deal with the hassle it can take, then a real estate agent can be worth their commission. Otherwise, save yourself the money and do it yourself, and learn more about the real estate market in the process.
If you’re planning to sell your home on your own, the ForSaleByOwner.com partner package can make sure you stay on track and keep everyone on the same page – plus there are a few tools to get your home seen.