By Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR©
There are a lot of things to consider before you offer your home ‘For Sale By Owner” commonly known as a FSBO. Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. The main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can get a better deal and negotiate a lower price on a home. Both seller and buyer want to get the best deal. Often times neither wins without a real estate professional to take the sale from showing to closing.
With a FSBO, an owner should be prepared to do a lot of research before embarking on selling their home. A few weeks of internet research can’t replace the knowledge of a real estate professional. A few mistakes can cost the owner much more than the real estate commission. Failure to disclose a known defect, overpricing the home or ignoring Fair Housing Laws can result in lawsuits, fines and court costs. Become familiar with real estate laws, most pertain to licensed real estate professionals as well as home owners.
There are seven basic questions that a home owner should ask themselves before marketing their home.
- Do you know the value of your home in your market? Don’t rely on tax information or your gut feeling, what your neighbor’s home sold for last week or what you paid for your home 10 years ago, or how much you have spent remodeling. Markets change quickly. Improvements you’ve made to your home don’t necessarily make it more valuable. REALTORS© have current data on for market values in your area. If you don’t want to discuss your home value with a REALTOR©, you may want to have a valuation perfomed by a real estate appraiser. Leaving dollars on the table is just as bad as asking too much for your home and having it sit on the market overpriced and ‘shop worn’.
- Are you willing to work with a buyer’s agent? In a typical real estate transaction, there is a seller’s agent and a buyer’s agent. Normally when a home is listed with a REALTOR©, the seller pays a total commission which both agents split depending on their agreements.
A buyer’s agent typically gets a percentage of the sale price. If you sell your home yourself you may decide not to work with an agent to represent you but that leaves behind the buyers in the market who are working with an agent and who might want to see your home. Consider working with a buyer’s agent and paying their fee. While real estate agent’s commissions may seem high to some Real estate agents provide a great value to homeowners, and usually get them much more money than they could on their own. Real estate agents REALTORS© are not paid just for the time they spend selling your house, they are paid for all the licensing courses and continuing education they must take. They are paid for their experience marketing homes and getting the most money possible for a seller.
- Can you handle the marketing of your property? It takes a lot of effort and time to properly market a property. Professional photos will show your home in its best light. Cell phone photos will not be sufficient. Most real estate professionals will have access to the equipment needed to portray your home for the buyer’s optimum viewing. Realtors also have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which will allow your property to be instantly marketed to other agents who have clients looking for similar properties. Recent studies have shown that 92% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 28% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote property sales with automatic feeds to hundreds of websites that specialize in Homes and land for sale.com, and other internet sites offer FSBO listings for a fee, but the agents who are Premier Agents with Zillow will still get top spots for contact information. Before paying any money to a third-party company to list your home for sale, research to determine if the company has a good reputation and has earned favorable reviews
- Can you bear criticism of your home? It may be perfect to you, but a buyer may not see it that way. Often a buyer will tell you all the shortcomings of your home in order to negotiate a lower price. Try not to take criticism of your property personally. A REALTOR© often serves as a buffer between the seller and the buyer and can handle the critique of the property professionally and objectively.
- Can you effectively negotiate the price and terms? Are you willing to give and take on the spot? Without a real estate professional to negotiate for you on your behalf, the buyer may want to know immediately what you will take for your home. If you are not a good negotiator, don’t try to sell your home yourself. By using a REALTOR© they will write up the contract for the buyer and present it to you along with your costs and proceeds. This will allow you time to make the right decision.
- Can you bring the sale to closing? A REALTOR© will investigate whether a buyer has the potential to purchase your home by working with the buyer and requesting for a pre-approval letter from the buyer’s lender. Often a buyer doesn’t want to disclose this information to the seller directly, like showing your hand in poker. Realtors work with lenders all the time and with the buyer’s permission they can acquire this information, thereby screening the buyer’s ability to purchase a home.
- Are you willing to take the time to work with all the people involved in finalizing the sale and bringing the sale to close. Appraisers, home inspectors, surveyors, lenders, title agents, attorneys, termite inspectors… the list is not endless but it takes time and coordination and patience to get everything prepared. A REALTOR© does this all the time. They are trained to do it correctly and efficiently.
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional and see what they have to offer. At Azalea Real Estate in Grand Bay we can help you from first showing to closing. We can answer your questions and help guide you through the home purchase. Why not take advantage of our years of experience? Visit www.mygrandbayhome to search for home or contact Aleta Boudreaux, REALTOR© at