For many of us, our home is our single biggest investment. So when it comes time to sell it, the idea of paying a real estate agent a fee is sometimes tough to come to terms with. But when you think of what a real estate agent does for you in order to sell your home, and possibly more important, when you think of what you would need to do in order to sell your home, the commission can seem more reasonable.
Let’s start by taking a quick look at some of the top things a realtor brings to the table that most people do not have:
- Knowledge of the local real estate market.
- Connections to other real estate agents (who have clients looking to buy homes).
- Understanding of the real estate transaction process.
- Expertise in real estate negotiations.
- Time to actual develop a plan to get your home sold (remember, you probably have a full-time job).
- Time to schedule and hosts Open Houses.
On their own, any single one of those points is important. But taken together, the collective value can be immeasurable. Having the right real estate agent working for you can save you time and energy, as well as sell your home more quickly.
Even with all that, it’s still understandable that homeowners would want to end up with as much money as possible from selling their home. If you fall into that category, and are seriously considering trying to sell your home on your own (what is known as For Sale By Owner, or FSBO), here are some things to keep in mind.
This process will take up time. Sure the process can start by simply putting a ‘For Sale’ sign on your front lawn. But what are the odds that a person who would possibly buy your home drives past your house? If you live at the end of a cul-de-sac, the only people who may see that sign are your next door neighbors. You’ll need to also have a plan to market your home, whether that’s through the Internet, print publications and/or other channels (which can also cost money).
Local real estate markets tend to be fluid. They can go from hot to cold or cold to hot in a short period of time. And unless you are connected to people within your local real estate market, you may not have any idea of how it is behaving. Without the correct information, you could price yourself out of the market, or choose to do less than what is needed to promote your home because you think it’s a seller’s market.
Without connections to real estate agents, you may also not have a chance to reach people who are looking to buy early on in their search. Your home will not be at the top of agents’ radars (if it is on them at all).
I’d also like to emphasize, that unless you are very skilled, it’s possible that you would not price your home properly. If you price it too high, you may not get any offers or even visits. If you price it too low, you could sell quickly, but lose out on some money that not even the commission savings can make up for.
A big difference between home owners who go the FSBO route and those that choose a real estate agent is that with FSBO homes, the owner does the negotiating with potential home buyers (whether with their agent or with them directly). If this is something you do not feel comfortable doing, or if you are not a strong negotiator, having a professional handle this for you could save you money (and possibly the deal from falling through).
Whether you choose to go the FSBO route or to hire a real estate agent, remember that you will still need a lawyer to assist with the closing.
As you start the process of putting your home on the market here in Lake George, please feel free to give me a call. I’ve worked with many home buyers who have had looked at FSBO homes, as well as home sellers who tried to sell on their own but ultimately chose to hire a real estate agent.