As the real estate industry evolves it seemingly becomes easier to market your house without the use of a professional. Knowing whether to use a REALTOR® or sell privately (FSBO) can be difficult to determine. It is important to understand what a good agent will bring to the table. Some of the main advantages of using a professional include: emotional objectivity, knowledge and marketing reach.
Before you decide to take on the job of selling your house privately ask yourself a few key questions:
- Am I ready to emotionally detach myself from my house?
Sellers generally become attached to their home. Most consider their home a sanctuary where they create an environment of relaxation and exhibit their own style. It is difficult to let go of something that has become a part of you over the years.
A home becomes your canvas; a painting of your life. Albums are filled with photos from 10 years of holiday family events: Christmas mornings, Easter egg hunts and 4th of July barbeques with hamburgers, hotdogs and fireworks. Walking across the floor you instinctively know what boards will creak, how to get the toilet to stop running and how to open the screen door in a second flat when no one else seems to have a clue. While some things may have once seemed like an annoyance they are now a part of what makes a home your own.
Additionally, it can be difficult to maintain objectivity as buyers critique your home. Something you find endearing, that make it so special to you, may be the opposite for a buyer. It is important to listen to buyer criticisms and to be open to suggestions for improvement. A REALTOR® will serve as an emotional bridge helping you maintain an air of calm during the selling experience.
- Do I have the proper knowledge to price my house appropriately?
The first step is reaching a listing price. Some sellers have an unrealistic idea of the price their house may sell. Whether your idea is low or high, your agent will play a crucial role in helping come to a sensible price range. After completing a comparative market analysis (CMA) and examining other data, they will offer their respectful suggestion as to the price range you’ll be able to obtain. Once the listing price has been settled the marketing of your house begins.
- Am I able to market my home effectively?
The initial marketing of your house is the most important aspect of the marketing process. You’re not just selling a house, you’re selling the intimacy and peace a home should make one feel. Once your agent has viewed your house, he or she writes engaging ads focused on the key elements of your house that make it saleable. These ads may be placed in newspapers, magazines and the local MLS and are crucial to successfully selling your house. While you may be particularly fond of the 1970’s feel of your rust-colored carpet, a modern REALTOR® understands that today’s home buyer will be less fond of this characteristic. Instead they may focus on the uniquely large size of secondary bedrooms, the proximity of your home to parks and schools or significantly lower taxes. Even if you’re able to detach yourself from your house and market it appropriately, will you be able to tackle problems presented during escrow?
- Can I anticipate and respond to problems quickly?
REALTORS® are trained to anticipate and avoid problems or respond to difficult situations quickly. They’ve likely handled countless transactions and run into near deal breakers throughout their careers. The ability to quickly handle problems during escrow can be the difference between a closed deal and one that falls through. Real property vs. personal property can present issues during the closing process. For example, if you are selling your home FSBO and do not stipulate your expensive, antique chandelier will be moving with you, you could run into trouble. An accomplished agent would ensure any questionable items be listed in the Bill of Sale.
- Do you have time to show your home to buyers and will you make yourself scarce?
Most often FSBO homes do not offer access to their home via a lockbox. This cripples the ability for agents to show your home to potential buyers while you are at work. Further, home buyers generally feel intimidated by the presence of the seller during their visit. They rush through the house and tell you how wonderful it is even if they hate it. They feel uncomfortable looking through every nook and cranny even though this is one of the most important avenues a buyer must travel to make the decision to purchase your house. Hence, your presence hinders the sale of your house.
These are but a few of the issues sellers can run into during the selling process. Depending on your personal situation, knowledge and availability, it may be in your best interest to enlist the help and expertise of a professional real estate agent. In doing so you should interview multiple agents prior to signing a contract to ensure you find the agent that is best able to serve you.