If you’ve already decided you’re going to sell your home without a realtor, we probably aren’t going to change your mind. Many FSBO (for sale by owner) transactions turn out incredibly well, while others could turn out to be horror stories just because of one missed step. So, what are the benefits of having a realtor?
The basics of the transaction may run deeper than you realize.
There are a lot of steps in the process of buying a home. If you have a family member or friend who is an agent, you may be used to hearing them speak of mountains of paperwork. They aren’t really exaggerating. You’ll need to accept an offer, counter offer, know what terms are reasonable to accept in the buyer’s financing, pass the bank’s appraisal of the house (and know what to do if you don’t), know how to manage a buyer’s loan being declined, and know what you are required to disclose to your buyer. Are you prepared for all of that? Your agent would be, these steps are now their second nature.
Unfortunately your choice to sell without an agent may mean that the buyer’s agent is picking up a lot of extra work that your realtor would normally handle. They’d have to do this to make sure the transaction closes on time. Some agents, while they are not supposed to, may try to avoid your listing to avoid the extra paperwork and stress. They want to go home early too!
You’ll probably have to pay a realtor anyway.
We aren’t just being negative in saying this. Even if you do not have an agent, you’ll probably end up paying one at the end of the purchase. The agent commission is the responsibility of the seller in all transactions, and most buyers want an agent looking out for them in the transaction. It’s no cost to them after all. Your buyer’s process likely started with them stepping foot into a brokerage office.
Your realtor has a network that can bring in buyers fast.
In real estate, we are always taught to capture more leads. Networking is half of the business for us. We are in constant contact with an army of a thousand relators with financial incentive to sell your home to their buyer.
You may not know how much your home is worth.
It’s no secret that sites like Zillow are not entirely accurate in their house estimates. They are constantly looking for ways to upgrade their software engineering and have offered a one million dollar reward to replace their system with a better one – that kind of shows you just how desperate they are to fix it.
A real estate agent can put together a list of truly comparable recent sales and listings and interpret those figures into a marketability study. Computers can’t interpret the condition of a home or how it fits into the market, there are simply too many factors. It takes real world experience to be able to proceed with those data points. Without an agent, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars.
FSBO may lead to a lot of lowball offers.
If you’re selling it yourself in order to save cash, expect the buyer to want to benefit from the savings as well. Since you’re saving on their commission, they may expect to be able to get the house cheaper…about 5% cheaper. You might want to anticipate a lot of lowball offers.
Your realtor is worth the fee.
Your realtor fee does not go directly into their pockets as they skip off into the sunset. Professional photography can go around $300, listing your home is $500-$1000, market attorneys for $400, and the closing attorney for $1,200 for the general public ($400 for realtors). The fee you pay a realtor is also split between that individual and their brokerage, so they will never see more than half in the first place.
Agents are trained to know how to market a home. They’ll list on dozens of websites, social media, and every home will get its own website with a 3D walk-in tour. None of that comes free, either.
They also know how to negotiate for you, and there’s a lot of negotiating to be done. You’ve got inspectors, appraisers, contractors, plumbers, and electricians who will be going in and out of the property. If the buyer is using a VA or USDA loan, you may even have to negotiate with the US Government.
Can you find some information to help you with this online? Sure. But who has that sort of time? It’s much more energy efficient to use someone who is knowledgeable and resourceful in this field.