Since a realtor is going to get a percentage of your total selling price, you might be inclined to keep those thousands of dollars in your own pocket and try to sell the home on your own, by doing a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) transaction. Many people believe that they are fully capable of doing everything themselves. However, there are plenty of dangers that can arise when you sell your own home, so think twice before you take on this daunting task!
If you choose to forego a realtor, there are several things you’ll need to be prepared for. You will need to stage your home, be available to show the home at a moment’s notice, prepare marketing materials for potential buyers, and negotiate an offer. On top of all that, you must be prepared to be objective about your home and accept the criticism that potential buyers are inclined to give.
Your first obligation is preparing your home. Although you may love the bright red paint in your kitchen, it could turn off potential buyers. The nostalgia you feel when seeing the mural your children drew on the basement wall will most likely be an eyesore for the next person who plans on living there. A professional realtor has seen hundreds (or even thousands!) of homes and will know exactly what needs to be done to make it attractive to buyers and what will help it sell quickly and at the right price. Be honest – do you know how to do that?
Next comes figuring out the perfect price. Although FSBO sellers have access to some websites that can determine what nearby homes have recently sold for, those websites are no match for the information that a professional realtor can dig up. And, if you list your home for the wrong price, you may miss out on valuable money – or overprice the home so that no one wants it!
And then comes the marketing. Realtors have a large list of contacts, their networks, and the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to get the word out about your home. They also know how to take the most flattering photos, design flyers, and where to post your home on the web so that it fetches the most traffic possible. These tasks may seem fun at first, but they can quickly become annoying chores – especially if you aren’t an expert!
After all of this, you’ll need to have a thick skin if you decide to go realtor-less. That’s because potential buyers tend to be brutally honest when searching for homes, and it may be tough to hear how someone feels about your personal taste. If you can’t leave emotion out of tours, pricing, and negotiations, you’re not ready to be your own realtor.
And, remember, just because you’re choosing not to have a realtor does not mean your buyer isn’t using one. The money you think you’re saving can be easily lost when you have to negotiate against a trained professional! So, while it may seem like a cost-effective idea at first, you’ll probably soon discover that selling your own home just isn’t worth the time or the stress. After the sale, you may also find that you didn’t even save as much money as you thought you would from using a professional realtor. Bottom line – when it comes time to sell the most valuable asset you have, it’s best to leave it to the experts!
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