In recent years, many metro areas have seen double-digit home-price increases. However, in 2014, those increases have slowed significantly, according to Trulia’s Price and Rent monitor. Now that the winter ground is beginning to thaw (well, a little) and spring is approaching, the busiest time of the year for home sales is upon us.
But what about those homeowners who have been thinking about selling, waiting for their homes to increase in value?
It’s natural for any homeowner to focus on maximizing profit when it comes to putting her home on the market. And one tactic many prospective sellers consider when trying to cash in is to cut out the “middleman” and sell the property solo — instead of hiring an agent.
The reality is this: Selling your home yourself is not the money-saving solution you think it is. The dollars you might save on commissions are often a wash when you consider the higher sales price an experienced agent — with pricing expertise, negotiating skills, and access — can bring to the table.
Real estate professionals have the resources to get top dollar for your home, and they can secure an accepted offer more quickly and get the deal closed on time.
The numbers don’t lie. Statistically, a home on the market listed “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) takes longer to sell (and eventually sells for less) than its real estate pro–represented counterparts. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, FSBOs accounted for 9% of home sales in 2013. The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000, compared with $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales. You do the math.
Real estate agents know every step of the home buying and selling process inside and out. According to Trulia, there are recommended questions you should ask a potential agent. It’s important to find the right fit for you and your home. At the end of the day, it’s what they do for a living, and their number one goal is to get your house sold quickly — for top dollar.
Here are five keys points that prove the “DIY” approach should be reserved for small home repairs — not home sales — and why you should always work with a real estate professional.
The most essential component to getting your house sold is to price it correctly. Price too high, and your home simply sits on the market, becoming a stale listing. Price too low, and you lose money.
Home sellers have an emotional connection to their homes and tend to think they are worth more than the market will bear. An experienced agent knows the nuances of your local market, how to price based on those specifics, and then justifies the price of your home to potential buyers.
Selling your home is a major business transaction. There are three significant negotiations in the sale process: the initial offer, the counteroffer, and the postoffer period that includes inspections and requests for concessions.
Bottom line: You need a skilled and objective negotiator on your side during those discussions.
You want your home to get the maximum exposure to the greatest number of potential buyers. Not only will a professional prepare all the marketing materials, coordinate the Internet marketing, and host open houses, he or she will also network regularly with other agents who may have interested buyers … maybe even your buyer.
4. Buyer perception
The vast majority of potential buyers are going to be represented by an agent of their own. FSBO deals can often deter those agents who prefer to work with another real estate professional or who worry about receiving their own half of the commission.
And if, as the seller, you do plan to pony up a buyer’s agent commission, you’re really saving only 3%, not 6%, on the sale.
5. Smooth sales process
A professional real estate agent has the experience to work through the sale process efficiently, stepping in when there are financing problems, dealing directly with buyers’ objections and complaints, keeping everything on track, and facilitating the contracts and escrow to a successful, smooth close.