Real estate agents are just fine. You might not expect to read that from the folks at ForSaleByOwner.com, an online service that helps home sellers bypass real estate agents and their 6 percent commissions, but it’s true: There’s nothing wrong with agents.
What’s wrong is needlessly giving away the money you’ve invested in your home and overpaying for services you could otherwise handle on your own. And as more and more for sale by owner home sales take place, agents’ and professional organizations are stepping up their campaigns to convince homeowners that doing it yourself is a bad idea.
Today’s savvy sellers aren’t being fooled, however. A recent national survey conducted by ForSaleByOwner.com found that Americans are more confident in the housing market — and in themselves.
According to the survey, 62 percent agree that now is a good time to sell a home in their area, and about the same number agree that now is a good time to buy.
Respondents also showed an awareness and acceptance of by-owner sales. Nearly all respondents — 96 percent — know that FSBO is an option for sellers. Some 52 percent would consider selling their home without an agent, an 18 percent increase from the previous year. And 80 percent would consider buying a home being sold without an agent.
Of course, the biggest benefit for do-it-yourself sellers is that they pocket more cash. By simply minimizing the middleman, by-owner sellers earn thousands more. Recent statistics show that although an average agent-assisted home sale yields $230,000, sellers who use ForSaleByOwner.com average $247,000.
“We are not anti-agent,” says Eddie Tyner, general manager of ForSaleByOwner.com. “We are against homeowners paying 3 percent to a Realtor to help them navigate the selling process.”
In fact, Tyner explains, “We are in favor, actually, of paying an agent if they bring you a buyer, as this is value you might not otherwise get. But the listing of the house, getting it on the MLS and all that, we just don’t think is worth the tens of thousands of dollars that some people pay.”
Regarding the public perception of agents, Tyner says it remains a good one. “People have a good perception of agents. More often than not, people find their agent through a friend or somebody they know. However, I do think that people look back on the transaction or process and wonder just what they got in return for paying that commission.”
Buyers, too, are seeing the benefit of bypassing agent commissions and acquiring their home directly from the seller. Unlike agent-represented homes, buyers are in direct contact with the seller and can avoid misinterpretations caused when messages are relayed in a long game of telephone tag through third parties who often have their own agendas.
“Agents are seen as a requirement, but we would like sellers — and buyers — to understand there’s a way to get out of it,” Tyner says.
As for agents? “If you like an agent, you should buy them a beer, not pay them a commission,” says Tyner.
Read this: How to Buy a Home Directly from the Owner