Do it Alone, or Use a REALTOR?
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FOR SALE BY OWNER (F.S.B.O)
As an FSBO (For Sale By Owner), experienced in marketing, a seller can save 1.5 to 2.5 percent of the final agreed-upon selling price. The seller is responsible for all of the detailed work involved in the sale of his home.
If Inexperienced FSBO in marketing and he is short on time, the FSBO route could cost him a great deal of time and money. Many sellers who have not been through the process of buying and selling a home before are not fully aware of all that is involved in selling a home successfully. Making a mistake in pricing, marketing, legal compliance or paperwork can have serious repercussions, both financial and legal.
The seller’s home must look clean and well-maintained, as well as present in a way that appeals to buyers. What appeals or is acceptable to the seller may be undesirable to a majority of buyers, which makes the homeless valuable on the market. An FSBO home must compare objectively to the homes for sale near it and be in line with them in both price and buyer appeal.
Marketing is another area where FSBO sellers run into difficulties. No one will buy a home if he does not know it is for sale. It is not enough to stick a sign in the yard and wait for an offer. Sellers should network with neighbors, friends, community groups, and real estate agents who work with buyers to give a home the exposure it needs. Come up with a well-worded description of the home’s most desirable features that buyers are looking for, take good-quality photos of the home by hiring a professional photographer for this.
FSBO sellers must select the proper contracts and be aware of their state’s laws regarding the disclosure of their property’s condition. If a seller does not handle disclosures of property defects in the right way, he opens himself up to the possibility of a lawsuit if the buyer feels there has been any fraud. In addition, a poorly worded contract or changes to the contract can give the buyer an easy way out of the contract, which costs the seller time and money. Hire a real estate attorney to draft up the proper contracts for you.
A seller who can stage, price, and market a home may want advice on contracts and the legal aspects of the sale.
The fact is most people who try to sell their own home end up using a REALTOR® in the end anyway. Before anybody decides to fly solo through this complex, time-consuming, and financially perilous process, they should consider these questions.
Will you really “save” the real estate commission?
When buyers see a home for sale ‘by the owner’, they see a bargain. They imagine the REALTORS® fee going into their pocket, not yours.
Are you familiar with real estate law?
Complicated and ever-changing, real estate law governs nearly every phase of selling your home.
One wrong move and an entire deal can fall through, or worse, a lawsuit can ensue.
How many potential buyers will you reach?
Selling a home takes more than just hanging a “For Sale” sign. How will you promote your home? Will you write your own ads? How will you use the Internet, knowing that you’ll have no inside access to www.mls.ca and therefore will not be able to post your home on this service?
Do you have the time?
Promoting a home is a full-time job, and you may already have one. Will you be able to take calls at any time? How about screening the callers to figure out if they’re qualified to buy your home?
Not everybody who calls is even suitable to walk through your home, but how do you tell?
Do you know the market well enough to get the most for your home?
Lacking years of experience, the average do-it-yourselfer is merely guessing at their listing price. Often they set the price too low and miss out on thousands of dollars, or they price their home too high and drive away willing buyers.
What about your selling skills?
If the personalities of prospective buyers rub you the wrong way, can you still deal with them effectively? What about your own defensiveness when you hear negative comments about your home? Best to keep it at arm’s length through a REALTOR®.
Do you have the negotiation skills to keep a deal on track?
When an offer comes in, emotions can run high with so much money on the line. This is why direct seller-to-buyer deals often end in disaster. REALTORS® keep it professional and are indispensable when it comes to bargaining with buyers.