For Sale By Owner: It’s Not That Simple

sold-on-woods-brosAccording to Time Magazine, nearly 90% of home sellers choose to use the help of a licensed professional to list their home. In the age of do-it-yourself, with You Tube channels dedicated to every kind of how-to imaginable, it’s remarkable that so many of us are still relying on a Realtor to sell our house.

There are a host of reasons to be tempted to not use a Realtor, the biggest being a matter of frugality. Why pay someone to sell your home when you’re perfectly capable of putting a sign in your yard and posting a few pictures online?

The answer is because it’s just not that simple.

Selling your home is a much more intricate process than selling your grandpa’s old recliner on Craigslist.

For starters, your Realtor is a licensed professional, and that title comes with endless responsibilities that your Realtor takes seriously. They are your marketing guru, a negotiating master, and an endless database of connections to loan officers, inspectors, and other industry professionals.

While everyone dreams of a quick and smooth transaction, the reality is that a number of factors can become stumbling blocks along the way. Those stumbling blocks are the moment your Realtor turns into a superhero, swooping in and putting the pieces back together to do what you hired them to do: sell your home. If you feel confident in navigating any stumbling blocks yourself, consider the following:

  • The sale is not a sale until everyone agrees on the inspection and subsequent repairs. The inspection period can be a deal breaker.
  • The loan process is a complicated, but necessary beast. Someone will need to make sure the process is on track to avoid any delay.
  • Even deciding on a listing price is complex. Your Realtor has the most up to date info on recent sales of comparable houses, known as “comps.”
  • What about getting an appraisal? What if the appraisal is low? Your agent is trained in dealing with these challenges.

Even for those perfect transactions, a Realtor is still your liaison; doing the work and making the calls that you simply don’t have the time for. They will handle all of the details it takes just to get your home under contract. Realtors aren’t just for complicated transactions, they’re for every transaction. Think of it this way; you wouldn’t cut your own hair or cast your own broken arm; instead you rely on licensed professionals. Time Magazine suggests the following advice: “Before skipping a full-service agent, think hard about the time and effort you want to spend, particularly if the process drags on.”

Find a professional to get your home listed, shown, and SOLD at WoodsBros.com.

The REALTOR’s Role When You Buy FSBO

Sold-FSBOYou’ve been searching for homes with your agent but can’t find the one that’s ‘just right.’ You know the inventory is tight and that the right one will come along soon, but you’re getting impatient!

Then you stumble across a house that looks perfect. But it’s For Sale By Owner. Now what?

Your agent can still help you – and he should! Just because the owner is selling privately doesn’t mean you can’t look at the house or even own it. Tell your agent about the house and share the address and phone number with him. Your agent will call the owner to see if he’s willing to work with buyers who are represented by a Realtor.

If the owner is willing to pay your agent a professional fee, he and the agent will meet prior to your seeing the house to agree on compensation. That’s usually a percentage of the sale price, but it can also be a set amount. With that agreement in place, your agent will show you the house, and if you decide it’s ‘the one,’ he’ll help you prepare an offer for the seller. Your agent will continue to work on your behalf and help you navigate the transaction to a successful closing.

If the owner is not willing to pay your agent a professional fee, you’ve still got a couple of options. You could choose to pay your agent the professional fee yourself – there’s no rule that says it has to be paid by the seller. You could also choose to negotiate directly with the seller and try to put the deal together on your own. By doing that you’re essentially firing your agent (even if you really like him!) and you’ll need to handle inspection deadlines, repair negotiations and follow-up, and any lender requirements without his guidance. If you haven’t bought a home before, or don’t feel comfortable ‘flying solo,’ you’ll want to give that decision some serious thought before proceeding!

(Consider, too, what you’ll do in case your direct negotiations with the seller are not successful. Will you be able to go back to your agent after dumping him? Ultimately that depends on the kind of relationship you have with your Realtor, but it’s something to keep in mind!)

In today’s market of very limited inventory, it’s only natural that we’d see more sellers trying to sell By Owner. As the buyer, know that you’ve got options and that it’s OK to look at FSBO properties. Talk to your agent and have a game plan in place, so when you find the right house, you can move forward confidently!

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