Some people groan at the thought of an Estate Agent telling you not to sell your OWN HOME. Some Estate Agents have a reputation of being as classy as the stereotypical used car salesman- and many believe that Estate Agents are paid thousands of Botswana Pula just to stick a sign in your yard.
Consider this...do you cut your own hair? Do you diagnose your own illnesses? Do you cook your own gourmet meals? Do you defend yourself in a court of law? All of these things you can do without professional assistance. However, you get what you pay for. Most of the time, trouble is all you get in the end - and it always seems to cost twice as much as if you had done it right in the first place!
Well, selling your own home is no different. In fact, it can be much scarier than that free home hair cut on picture day!
All joking aside, your home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. A mistake in selling your home could cost you far more than hiring a professional will ever cost.
A few points to consider:
o Liability- We live in a culture where people bring law suits at the drop of a hat...can you afford to take on that possibility? A misunderstood statement or a problem not disclosed can lead to big problems. Not only do you open yourself up to litigation, Estate agents do not want to bring their buyers to you. Why? Because you are a liability to them and their clients.
o Safety- Do you want to open your house up to just anyone? Estate Agents track who is in your home, when, and for how long. They vet potential buyers before those clients enter your house.
o Cost- By the time you spend your money advertising and sell your home you may have incurred more cost than an agent's fee. A couple of balloons, an ad in the paper, and some free punch and cookies is NOT going to get it done.
o Exposure- An agent can reach far more people than you can. The networks available to an Estate agent are tremendous. Unless you pay a several hundred dollar listing fee, for example, your home will not be listed in Multiple lising service, shrinking the pool of potential buyers by several orders of magnitude.
o Time on the Market- If your agent is honest with you on price and how to prep your home, it will sit on the market for a fraction of the time it will take you to sell your home. Next time watch how long the home without an agent sits on the market vs a house that has Real Estate Agent representation. Also consider that a home that is on the market too long is generally perceived to have something wrong with it.
o Correct Pricing- Can you really separate your emotions and price your house properly? Do you think you can price your home not to cheat yourself or drive away prospects? The amount Mr. Johnson across the street sold his house for does not necessarily mean that you will get the same price...and who is to say that he told you the actual selling price? Even worse, some of your advisers family friends, can often estimate wildly inaccurate prices for homes.
o Ability- Do you have the ability and time to answer every phone call and every knock on the door? Can you leave work to show your home to an out of town buyer at 10:30 am on a Tuesday?
o Hassle- You will have to deal with the questions, the knocks on the door, the phone calls, and people wanting to walk through your home. You will have to deal with the termite inspector, the mortgage evaluator, the home inspector, the people buying your home... and that is not even counting your part of the move!
o Negotiations- Do you have enough emotional control to know how best to evaluate a buyers offer and then respond to buyer contingencies, timetables for appraisals, inspections, financing and much more? Will you be able to diplomatically ask for money if an offer is too low, without alienating a potential buyer?
o Buyers- The majority of motivated buyers use an agent. They are looking to make a quick transaction and they are not going to waste time driving around looking for a "For Sale by Owner" sign. And let's face it, agents are not going to show your house, either. You are on your own.
o Tribal knowledge- Do you know who the honest lawyers are? How about the home inspector? Do you know what their rates are for their services? Can they be trusted, and will they perform for you? You probably don't know the answers... and guess what... they know you don't, too! Many will offer services at a low quality standard and then charge you at higher than normal rates. They know you won't be back.
o Peace of Mind- Do you really know all the forms, inspections, regulations, and laws concerning property transactions in your area? How about tax liabilities? Are you using a FSBO website as a reference? Your buddy that got lucky selling his house? What if you miss something? Are they coming to your aid when it all goes wrong?
When considering the idea of selling your own home, seriously ask yourself if you are willing to deal with all of the points that we have made, because as a "For Sale by Owner" you will have to deal with all of it. Why not hire a professional to help? It really is worth the Estate agentss fees!