No, I’m not going to tell you that “You’ll never be able to sell your home without a real estate agent.”
And, yes, the topic of this blog post may seem self-serving. After all, helping homeowners sell their properties is what I do for a living.
What I will explain is what goes into a home sale—especially its unique qualities that, unlike selling a car or anything else—make it entirely unsuitable for a DIY project.
The DIY process is tainted
If you’ve ever purchased a used car from the owner, instead of from an automobile dealership, you are familiar with some of the same fears many of your potential buyers will have. Especially if you refuse to pay a buyer’s agent commission, homebuyers will be reluctant to work with you.
Their fears are that because you aren’t a professional, but a complete stranger, you lack the ethics that a REALTOR is bound by.
Is the home a “lemon?” They’ll wonder if you’re disclosing everything you know about the home and the neighborhood.
Your inexperience may frighten off some of the best buyers for your home.
DIY home evaluation
There are two critical aspects of every home sale, presentation (how your home is presented to potential homebuyers) and price. Do you know how the market value of a home is determined? And, if so, where will you get the data required to figure out how much your home is worth?
Many homeowners mistakenly turn to the large online real estate portals, which is a big mistake. Sites such as Zillow and Trulia don’t have access to all MLS listings.
Instead, they rely on the use of public records fed into an algorithm that spits out results that have a median error rate of about 8 percent, according to Zillow’s CEO.
That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Consider this: March’s median sale price, nationwide, was $344,625. Suppose you list your home for that but the real estate portal is telling your potential homebuyers that your home is worth 8 percent less.
That’s more than $27,000
Imagine how many people won’t even look at your home, assuming it’s overpriced. Or, worse, the lowball offers you’ll get because of it. It happens all the time.
One economist, by the way, found the error rate of Zillow’s “Zestimates” to be much higher—as much as 20 percent too high or too low.
To determine the current market value of a home requires access to information about recently sold homes near yours. The MLS has this data and one must be a member to access it.
Unless you work in advertising or marketing, how your home is presented to potential buyers is better left to a professional.
How will your description of the home and your photographs compare to the competition, being marketed by professional real estate agents with all of the tools and expertise they possess?
Since we do this for a living, we are able to analyze your property to determine who your likely buyer will be and focus our marketing to that pool of buyers. We also know which advertising and marketing platforms work best for each type of buyer.
A multitude of details
Do you know how to pick a closing date that meshes with your current financial or homebuying objectives? Especially if you are aiming to close on another home simultaneously, some days, and some parts of the month are better for the seller. This is yet another of the many details to be aware of.
As real estate agents, we juggle what seems like a million and one details for every transaction. Everything from keeping track to when contingencies are supposed to be removed, to scheduling the home inspection and ensuring the appraiser gets his or her work done in a timely manner, we make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Doing it by yourself means you don’t have anyone in your corner
If the homeowner who goes it alone decides to pay a small commission to the buyer’s agent, the playing field is lopsided.
The buyer has professional representation and the seller doesn’t. And, no, the buyers’ agent will not help the seller with the paperwork or anything else.
How will you hold up in negotiations against someone who negotiates for a living?
We understand that it’s tempting to try to go it alone when you sell your home and we’re happy to offer you advice. But we would be remiss in our duties to not explain to you the many things that can, and often do, go wrong.
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