So, you’ve decided to put your home on the market. Bet we can guess the question rolling around in your head: Do I really need a real estate agent to help me sell this place?
That may seem like a strange thing for real estate firm to say. But we value integrity above all else, and that comes with a commitment to honesty. The truth is, you may not need to partner with a real estate agent to sell your home. To find out, answer the following six questions truthfully:
- Can you commit a substantial amount of time to your home sale process?
- Do you have superior negotiation skills under pressure?
- Are you comfortable accepting less money for your home?
- Do you have access to resources and a vast network of professionals, along with potential buyers?
- Are you familiar with all the paperwork involved with selling a home?
- Do you have solid marketing skills to apply to your home sale?
In all seriousness, if you answered “yes” to every one of these questions, you may truly have the skills and knowledge to navigate the market on your own. If so, FSBO (that’s For Sale By Owner, or “fizz-bo”) may be the best option for you. Most homeowners, though, are incredibly busy in their own right, and have little to no significant marketing, legal, or negotiating expertise. For those folks, there are real estate agents.
Six Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent Rather than Go FSBO
Reason #1: Time. Good real estate agents don’t just list it and forget it. They dedicate a sizable chunk of time to their clients, helping to stage homes, managing phone calls from prospective buyers and other agents, coordinating inspections and open houses, and so on. If you’re concerned about getting docked at work for handling personal business on company time, FSBO is a risky option.
Reason #2: Negotiation Skills. Real estate professionals stay on top of financial market changes, real estate trends, and neighborhood-level data—all of which give them an advantage in price negotiations. In addition, they understand the nuances of offers and counter-offers: what’s worth fighting for, how much sellers can push or resist without losing a deal, if it’s reasonable or necessary to accept contingency clauses, and so on. Also, there’s quite an array of people on the real estate field, and all of them are looking out for themselves. Could you hold your own with a prospective buyer or their agent? How about their attorney? Would you be offended when prospective buyers criticize your decorating style, and can you keep a cool head with difficult people? Would you be comfortable having tough conversations with inspectors and appraisers? How about your bank? Or would you rather have an experienced advocate go to bat for you?
Reason #3: Money. Most people go the FSBO route to avoid paying an agent’s commission—6% on average. Some websites claim homeowners net more money working with a professional than offering their home FSBO. To be honest, the data aren’t clear on that, and at least one study actually disproved that assertion. Another article explains why the often-quoted “13% higher” figure might be misleading. But even nay-sayers agree that involving a real estate agent in your home sale adds value—if not in actual dollars, then in time, work, and headaches. And, after all, time is money.
Reason #4: Networks. If you run into a question or concern about your home sale, who will you ask? Are you on a first-name basis with appraisers and inspectors? Do you have a real estate attorney on speed dial? Do you have access to resources that will help you appropriately value your home? Are you in contact with people who are actively looking to purchase a home? Yes, you can reach prospective buyers via FSBO websites, but what about the people who aren’t accessing those sites? Plus, agents know specific buyers and what they’re looking for, and they can more quickly connect people to properties they’ll be interested in.
Reason #5: Paperwork. Although even the real estate industry is making moves toward being paperless, there are still dozens of forms to be dealt with when property changes hands. While it’s true that title companies and mortgage lenders work through most of that documentation, it’s helpful to have an agent to hand-hold you through the process. Missing a crucial step, such as a mandatory disclosure, could have legal implications. [Get the facts about contingencies here.]
Reason #6: Marketing. Unless you can develop and execute a solid marketing and sales strategy in your sleep, then hiring an agent is definitely the way to go. Agents know how to market your home inside and out. They can also offer solid advice based on years of experience and expertise. Web- and social-media-savvy agents will be an enormous benefit to your home sale, particular through their understanding of best practices for photography and video. Did you know that when viewing an online listing, 95% of people look at the photos before anything else? How about this: Listings with professional photos have 61% more online views and sell for up to $19,000 more. Real estate agents eat, sleep, and breathe this information—so you don’t have to.
Ready to get help from a real estate expert? We’d love to chat.