You have many choices when it comes to selling your home. The first step in the home selling process is choosing the right option for you. You don’t need a realtor to sell your house. This is often the first question homeowners ask.
Many sellers find the for sale by owner (FSBO) attractive because it allows them to save thousands of dollars on realtor fees. Saving money is great but if you have never sold a house before or aren’t able to dedicate the time necessary to sell it, you could be setting yourself up to fail.
A seller must be careful not to fall for common real estate pitfalls. They should also conduct thorough research on the market and handle all paperwork, negotiations, management, timelines, and management. One mistake could cost you a lot of money.
It’s a smart idea to work with a realtor if you are a novice at home selling. Realtors are licensed professionals that hold membership in the National Association of Realtors. The professionals in these different categories may be able to help you:
- Real estate agent
- Real estate broker
- Managing broker
Although some real estate agents can also help consumers buy and sell properties, they do not belong to NAR. They are not subject to the NAR’s ethical and educational requirements. This is important to remember as it could indicate that a real estate agent will not work out.
All licensed real estate professionals must complete between 30 to 90 hours of training each year, regardless of NAR status. This is something you can put to your advantage when you have a licensed and educated professional help you to sell your most valuable asset.
You are choosing a Realtor, you are choosing someone who has more training than a non-NAR member real estate agent.
Why use a realtor when you can sell your house yourself? These are the top 11 reasons.
1. You have never sold a house before
There is a steep learning curve if you have never sold a home before. All those education requirements that we mentioned?
Many people who choose to do FSBO underestimate the amount of work and experience involved. The first step in your home selling journey is to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to complete the task with the best results. To sell a house successfully, you need to have a certain skill set.
- Know your local real estate market
- Negotiation skills
- Marketing skills
- Expert communication skills
- Legal knowledge
The skills we have listed are some of the most important. These skills are not easy to learn if you have never sold a house before.
Acquiring knowledge is not the end of your journey. Next, you will need to prepare for selling your home. The next step is to determine the value of your home. If you price it too low, you will lose money and cancel out any money that you have saved by not using a realtor. Most FSBO homes sell at a lower price than homes that are sold by a realtor.
It also requires a substantial outlay. The flat fee MLS service costs $300 to $500. You will need to pay to list your house on the multiple listing service (MLS). There are FSBO listings sites as well, but the MLS is the best. 9 out 10 sellers list their homes on the MLS. You will need a real estate attorney to draft and review your purchase and sales agreement. This is a legally binding document.
When trying to sell your house FSBO, it’s easy for you to get lost. Even if you do all the right things, it’s not a guarantee that you will sell your home.
If you’ve never sold a home before, it is worth considering hiring an agent. Contact a real estate agent to schedule an interview. Ask questions and get a feel of the process to determine how you want to proceed.
2. You are too busy
Selling a house is a time-consuming task. It’s a full-time job in many ways. Selling your house is more than just putting up a sign in your yard.
Selling a home by yourself if you are working full-time will add to the already stressful work day. Before you list your home FSBO, here are some questions:
- Do I have the time to answer questions from potential buyers all day?
- Can I find the time to sell my house to potential buyers while working?
- Do I have the will to take advantage of every opportunity to sell my house?
- Am I sure that I have the time and energy to complete the whole selling process?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, FSBO may not be the best option for selling your house. It doesn’t end there. Selling your own home requires organizing an open house and deciding where to post your property online. You will also need to show your home to potential buyers.
A good realtor will make selling your house their full-time job. You don’t need to be available for staging your house, taking calls, evaluating potential buyers or listing your property. They do all of these things as part of their job. All the tools you need to sell your house efficiently and successfully are available to Realtors.
Being your own agent can be time-consuming. Before you decide to sell your home FSBO, think about how much time it will take.
3. You don’t know real estate marketing
Marketing your home well is the most important step in selling your house. If you do not properly market your home, it could remain on the market for several months or even longer. A realtor will be responsible for marketing your house.
The MLS is an essential tool in a realtor’s arsenal. A FSBO seller may list their home on Zillow and Facebook. However, a realtor will know how to maximize the MLS. This includes listing your property on other sites such as:
A FSBO seller may pay a realtor to list their property in the MLS FSBO. However, the real estate commission is not included in the listing agent’s fee. An MLS listing will expose your home to potential buyers as well as other realtors. NAR’s code outlines that Realtors must work in cooperative relationships to the benefit of clients. Cooperative sales are a common practice. The potential sale of your house may be made possible by a realtor’s connections in the local marketplace. This alone could make it worthwhile.
A realtor will also know where to advertise your house and what is most effective for your area. A realtor can help you stage your home and hire a professional photographer to take high-quality photos. They will also help with writing a description of your home. Open houses may also be held to showcase your home to potential buyers in order to highlight features that will appeal to them.
4. You don’t have access to professional tools and apps
The average FSBO seller does not have the same tools that realtors have. Already we have discussed the benefits of realtors having access to MLS for selling your home. We’ll now take a closer look at MLS and other tools that realtors use when selling homes.
MLS is a restricted database that only licensed agents and brokers can access. All details about a property are uploaded to the MLS database by realtors, including photos, square footage, and number of bedrooms. This information is available to all realtors and can be shared with clients. MLS is one powerful tool in a realtor’s arsenal.
ShowingTime is a very popular tool agents use these days. ShowingTime, as the name implies, is an app that realtors use for tracking and confirming showings. This app makes it easy to sell your home. They get feedback from potential buyers, and they share this information with sellers to keep them updated throughout the home-selling process.
The Supra lockbox is another tool that realtors use to secure the keys to their homes. An automated lockbox is located on the property’s front. It can be opened using a code or synced to a phone. This makes it possible for realtors to show your house whenever you need. The lockboxes provide security to home sellers as all access is granted and approved.
A realtor’s home-selling strategy should include yard signs. Many homes have been sold and discovered by passing traffic thanks to a well-designed sign in the yard. The power of a for sale sign with an eager agent waiting to hear from potential buyers is not to be underestimated.
5. You are concerned about your security
When dealing with potential buyers, realtors take several steps to protect your home and yourself. Pre-screening potential buyers is one way to do that. Pre-approved buyers have already been approved by their mortgage company. Pre-approval is a guarantee that a mortgage company has done these things:
- Confirm the income of the buyer
- Examine the credit history of the buyer
- Verified other financial details and personal information
What does pre-approval mean for safety? Pre-approval shows that the buyer is serious about buying a home. This means that the lender has done extensive research on the buyer and has their social security number, employment history, and any other pertinent information. Most FSBO sellers will not have access to pre-approval letters before they show their homes.
A realtor can show your home and you will feel comfortable knowing they have done all the necessary background checks to make sure potential buyers are trustworthy. Open houses are also handled by realtors. They can access lockboxes to track showings using tools like ShowingTime or Supra lockboxes, as we have discussed.
6. Negotiating is not easy an easy task
Good realtors have excellent negotiation skills. Negative negotiation skills can result in losing thousands of money when you sell a house. Buyers may walk away with a better deal. It’s best not to attempt to negotiate a deal if you aren’t confident.
To get the best price for your home, your realtor is bound by fiduciary obligation. A realtor is also a skilled negotiator, so they know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to closing a real estate deal. They will guide you through the process and negotiate for you, so you don’t make poor decisions.
Your position will not be compromised because realtors evaluate the buyer’s offer objectively. Realtors also don’t have an emotional stake in the outcome. This allows them to maintain their independence and ensure your home sells quickly. This is yet another reason to ask the question: Why use a realtor when you can sell your home yourself?
7. Real Estate Contracts are not easy to understand
It’s hard to grasp the details of real estate contracts without formal training. There are many laws that govern home sales. These laws vary from one state to the next. A realtor can help you navigate the legal documentation and keep you within the laws.
There are many things in a real estate purchase agreement. You need to understand the legal implications of each addendum, contingencies and riders that will affect your home sale.
The seller disclosures are an important part of any real estate contract. The seller must disclose to the buyer all material facts that could affect the home’s worth or desirability. Failure to disclose could lead to liability for fraud, breaching contract, negligence, or both.
Your realtor is an expert in the area and can help you avoid falling foul of the law when you sell your home. Real estate agents also keep up-to-date with the legal changes that could impact real estate contracts. A buyer can sue you if you fail to disclose any negative information about your home. Realtors can make mistakes as well, but usually have business liability insurance just in case an issue arises.
A FSBO seller must be able to understand all laws and regulations. It’s not easy to understand the legal jargon, and how binding contracts differ from non-binding ones . You are hiring an expert in real estate transactions when you hire a Realtor.
8. It’s hard to price your house correctly
Realtors are experts in pricing your house for sale. Realtors have a variety of tools to help them accurately price your house so that you get the best possible deal. A comparative market analysis (CMA) is one method they use for determining your home’s worth. CMA is a method that estimates the value of your home based on comparable sales in your area.
Realtors can use these tools and methods to price your house when conducting a CMA.
- They consider current properties on the market
- Home appraisals
- Market Conditions
- Size and usable area of your home
These are key factors in determining the price of your house by a realtor and making sure it sells for the highest possible price. A realtor will also suggest ways to make your home more appealing, such as cosmetic work or repairs that will improve its value.
Realtors keep up-to-date on the market for home prices. Realtors closely monitor the market and pay attention to any changes that might affect your home’s price. They ensure that your home is correctly priced to attract potential buyers and allow you to sell at the highest price.
Sellers who try to sell their home on their own risk undervaluing it or overvaluing it. They also run the risk of having an emotional attachment that makes it difficult for them to objectively view it. These pitfalls can be avoided by a competent realtor.
9. The escrow process is not something you’re familiar with
Escrow refers to the period between the time a buyer offers you a home that you accept and when the deal closes. Escrow begins when you and the buyer sign the purchase agreement and ends when funds have been disbursed at closing. A realtor will have an escrow account that you can use to deposit funds and guide you through the process.
The escrow officer will ensure that the essential items are protected until the deal is closed and the property transfers hands. Escrow ensures that all parties in a real estate transaction are protected by making sure money does not change hands until all conditions have been met. The following tasks are required as part of the Escrow process:
- Home inspections: A home inspector inspects your home to find any defects, hazards or problems.
- Repairs: The buyer will be able to negotiate repairs before closing after the home inspection.
- Appraisal: To protect its financial interests, the buyer’s lender will order an appraisal of the property.
- Mortgage approval: Buyers need to wait for bank approval before they can secure financing.
The seller and buyer have the ability to negotiate terms at all stages of the escrow process. Remember what we mentioned earlier about negotiation skills being important? Your best interests could be overlooked if a realtor doesn’t represent you during the process.
Although it can be difficult to navigate the escrow process for FSBO sellers, it is not impossible. We keep repeating the mantra that if you aren’t sure of your abilities, it is best to let a professional help.
10. You want someone there at closing
Closing a house is an emotional and complicated process. Working with a realtor can be a great benefit. They will give their full attention to your needs. It can be calming to know that you have someone who is knowledgeable about closing your home. Legally, realtors must look out for your best interest at all times, including closing.
The complexities of closing paperwork are well understood by realtors. They can also help you work with your attorney and title company. It is often hard to understand disclosures and contracts and there are many options for last-minute items. Your realtor will make sure you are fully informed about any unforeseen issues and that the closing runs smoothly.
It is invaluable to have an agent who will advocate for you and your interests during closing. Once the sale is closed, you’ll have someone to celebrate with!
Selling your home requires expertise in real estate. A realtor can help you navigate the home-buying process. This is one of your best choices. A realtor is a licensed professional that is an expert on the local real estate market.
Although it may seem appealing to save money by selling your house FSBO, the truth is that most home sellers will be better off using a realtor. Let’s go back to the original question: Why use a realtor when you want to sell your house? Working with a realtor is a great way to sell your home. With a 1% Listing Agent, you’ll get the best possible price for your home and protect your interests during the sale of one your most valuable and complex assets.