For Sale By Owner – Should I hire a real estate agent?

So you’ve listed your home for sale. GREAT! Now what? In this day and age, with sites like Craigslist, selling anything online seems easy! But before you ink that deal for (usually) the largest transaction of your life, consider a few things:

Litigation –The number one law suit in real estate is For Sale By Owner sellers not filing or filling out paperwork correctly. The license states award to agents is a limited license to practice law and also requires that agents be insured. These safeguards are there to protect us and our clients. If you sell your home without representation of either an agent or a real estate attorney, you’re leaving yourself wide open to litigation regarding that sale for three years after the transaction closes – that’s a long time to wait.

We pay for ourselves – According to NAR, REALTORS get sell homes for 13% more selling yourself. While I know we get more money for our sellers, I think this number is a little high. But let’s examine; Most likely the person who buys your home, even from Zillow, is working with an agent and therefore, you’re going to be asked to pay that person for bringing a buyer. A listing agent typically gets 2-3% of the commission offered. And I can give you endless examples of sellers who tried Zillow, then hired us that got much more than 2-3% more than they were originally listed at. So, yes, we pay for ourselves, sometimes 10X over.

Exposure – So you think the first place people go to look for homes is Zillow? It’s just not true. 89% of buyers are represented by an agent – which means their client is looking almost exclusively at the MLS search their agent has provided for them. These are the people that are serious about buying. Why market your home to ‘Lookie Louise’ who aren’t qualified to make an actual offer? We market your home aggressively to the right people to generate the most interest and get you the best offer.

Negotiations – I’m negotiating from the day we go under contract until the day we close but you’ll never see the majority of this. I negotiate with other agents, title companies, mortgage companies, service providers….the list goes on and on. Do you know if those deadlines on that offer are reasonable? Those are critical items on your offer with ever changing answers. Are you versed in the equations appraisers use to determine your home value? If you aren’t, it’s going to be a tough conversation if it doesn’t appraise for the price you accepted. When’s the last time you cleaned or repaired a sewer line? Do you know the cost? If not, how are you going to know what to say when that buyer says you’ve got to get it repaired or drop your price?

The bottom line is that if you decide to sell your home yourself, you’ll put a lot of time and effort into the selling process – much more than you think. After all, you have to be the seller and the listing agent, and both jobs require a lot of time and energy. And since you’re likely going to be paying a buyers agent, you have to ask yourself, is it worth 2-3% the price of your home to let someone else handle the hassle and responsibility during your transition?

Lastly, I’d like to point out that we, and many agencies, offer closing services for a nominal fee if you’ve already found a buyer for your home. Decide what’s right for you, but don’t rule out assistance just to be trendy.


Written by Sarah Whitely, Forever Home Colorado 303.246.1667

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