You may be thinking that selling your home with a Realtor adds real costs that decrease your net profits once you sell, but have you ever wondered what your true costs would be if you sold your home without an agent? Before you get started, here is what sellers that recently sold their homes shared in the most recent Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey from the National Association of Realtors. When asked about the difficulties they faced, the top 3 challenges were preparing their home for sale, setting the listing price, and managing the paperwork involved.
I often encounter home owners that have bought and sold several properties over the years and unfortunately think that buying or selling as many as 10 houses over any period of time results in expertise. Not to brag, but I would be having a bad year if I hadn't sold 10 houses in 90 days! In the almost 20 years that I have been selling real estate, I can't ever point to a time of boredom. I left corporate America because I wanted almost every day to be different. I have not been disappointed. The real estate world is full of constant change from contracts and legal requirements, market conditions, and marketing strategies. Throw in a pandemic and you really have change!
Your home is likely your most significant asset and I am surprised if recognizing that doesn't lend to your home deserving every bit of expertise that a real estate agent brings to help you navigate the complexities of the law, paperwork, and practices and to bring a significant ease in preparing your home for sale and a marketing strategy to maximize your net profit.
Still wondering the true costs of selling your home without an agent? Let's review what true value a Realtor brings.
1) HOME PREPARATION AND STAGING
Just like we eat with our eyes first, it's no different when you are buying a home. Prospective home buyers either at open houses or in a showing with their agent are already filled with ideas of what their next home needs to look and feel like. That's right....feel. A home evokes emotion as it represents a personal sanctuary, where you cook, lounge, live, and create memories. Even though people know that a builder's model home is a home that no one lives in, they expect a pre-owned home to look like one. They don't want to see personal hygiene items in the bathrooms, clutter of collectibles, or dirty dishes in the sink. They also want to get ideas on how their furniture will fit in their next home based on how the space is being used. The last thing they are thinking about is buying a home that needs work like new flooring or paint, or needs a deep clean.
As the market changes, you want to prepare your home properly and stage it so it shows its space the best. The guidelines change and I often find that sellers fall into 2 different camps. In one camp, they want to do too many upgrades to their home before they are on the market and in the other camp, they don't want to do anything. It's generally somewhere in the middle and it depends on your neighborhood and the competition within a reasonable distance from your home. I make it easy for my home sellers by bringing in my home staging team to take care of it all or provide guidance for those that want to participate in the process. The cost? From none to minimal for my clients!
2) PRICING AND MARKET KNOWLEDGE
Setting the right listing price is critical to selling your home for the highest sale price, regardless of market conditions. Somehow in the age of 24 hour news cycles, some home owners think that their listing price should compare to any time period in the past, especially if they were in a very "hot" market. A Realtor reviews and studies market data every day and has tons of resources to sort out future trends that are evolving so that they have the expertise to advise a home owner what the market price is at the time they put a home on the market. They also can share factors that are not yet reported on the news that we know will impact the home selling process. Realtors are experts in ensuring that you are not under the misconception that a sale that takes place later (because you're not in a hurry) means you will be another statistic among many that shows that the longer you are on the market, the lower the profit. The reality is that setting the right price from the beginning will ensure you are poised above the competition and will look attractive to all prospective buyers. Price decreases along the way can lead to buyers wondering what is wrong with your home. Longer days on the market than the average in your competitive space also tends to discourage buyers.
3) MARKETING AND EXPOSURE
While the first 2 above are critical, if buyers and buyers' agents can't find your home available for sale, it's like a billboard out on a road in the desert. Buyers don't have the time or patience to seek out a home. They look at popular online platforms like Realtor.com or brokerage websites like Coldwell Banker to find homes available for sale. As part of Realtor dues and other costs, your home is automatically sent to many platforms and the MLS to advertise your home for sale that reach local, national, and global audiences. With Texas being the #3 home buying destination for foreign home buyers, you cannot afford not to advertise internationally. If you don't use a Realtor, you will find yourself relying on limited advertising opportunities and the costs associated to do on your own.
Realtors also participate in networking opportunities to advertise amongst the agent population in advance. They also have client databases that they can tap into to alert them and anyone they know that your home is for sale. Additionally, as a Certified Relocation Specialist, I also work with companies that are relocating employees to our area. Not to miss a step, I also use social media marketing to reach prospective buyers that like to home search and seek out open houses on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.
Once buyers find your home online or through my other marketing means, they will find professional photography or tours, a compelling home description and presentation used to attract them to your home. These are important marketing tactics and strategies to attract buyers to your home vs. the competition.
4) MANAGING LIABILITY AND LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS
Selling a home requires mandatory use of notices and following regulations that are subject to change frequently. Did you know that not using a specific disclosure could allow a means for a buyer to legally withdraw from the purchase of your home? Real estate is locally regulated and contracts, forms, and disclosures vary from state to state but there are also federally regulated aspects that also must be adhered to. Selling a home without professional guidance leaves a home seller liable for legal complications and liability risks even after the sale is completed.
Real estate agents take mandatory continuing education and stay well versed in all the contracts, disclosures, and regulations necessary during a home sale. This expertise minimizes errors or omissions that could lead to legal troubles. It's no wonder my clients said I made the selling process EASY!
5) NEGOTIATION AND STRATEGY
When you are selling or buying a home, emotions tend to run high for both sellers and buyers. Regardless of what side you are on, you may be overwhelmed during the negotiation process. Your agent is your best offense and defense throughout as they skillfully negotiate on your behalf and ensure that your interests are protected. As a home seller going it alone, you have to deal with these parties that all represent the best interests of the buyer:
- The buyer's agent who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
- The home inspector who is hired by the buyer to raise any red flags on your home's property condition
- The home appraiser who assesses the property value to protect the lender and buyer
Going it alone, you have to keep your emotions checked (difficult on your own home). A Realtor has vast experience in handling tough negotiations, counteroffers, negotiations, and market knowledge of emerging negotiation tactics. Unless you are a Realtor, you will be at a disadvantage in representing yourself.
The true costs of managing the sale of your home are real. That's probably why only 8-10% of home sellers sold their home without an agent in 2021 and the trend continues downward. Many cite that they did not sell in the time they had planned for adding to the challenges.
Still not convinced? Why not consider a no obligation seller consultation today to find out your options before you go it alone? If we decide to work together, expect a great experience and a high sales price! Call me today to learn more!