Why Use a Realtor to Sell Your Home?

Six Reasons Why You Should

For Sale by OwnerIt is not uncommon for Montgomery area homeowners to think they can sell their home themselves…. the general idea is why pay a Realtor when all they do is list the property on the MLS and stick a sign in the yard! Sound about right? Not so fast.

While some homeowners are able to successfully sell their home without the help of a Realtor, it is rarely the case. According to the National Association of Realtors, U.S. statistics show that only 9% of homes are sold by FSBO and 91% are sold by Realtors. The numbers don’t lie….Realtors sell more successfully than owners.

The fact is, it takes money to make money. A recent study showed people who use Realtors to sell their home, net 16% more than FSBOs who sell themselves. And this includes the typical 6% commission paid to the Realtor! This trend is only getting worse according to the 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Last year, the typical FSBO home sold for $140,000 compared to $199,300 for agent-assisted home sales. That is a big difference wouldn’t you say?

So why is it that FSBO sellers are generally not successful? According to Marcie Geffner of Realtor.com, there are several reasons why:

1. FSBOs can’t list their home in the MLS. FSBOs aren’t permitted to put their home in the multiple listing service (MLS) because these industry membership organizations are open only to licensed real estate brokers and agents. FSBOs are also locked out of many home search engines and Web sites, including the gigantic Realtor.com. Sure, a determined FSBO can put a for-sale sign in his or her front yard and run a tiny advertisement in the local newspaper, but the home won’t receive nearly as much exposure as it would through the MLS.

2. Agents often won’t show FSBO homes. In a typical home sale, the buyer’s agent receives a percentage of the commission that the seller pays the listing agent. Without a listing agreement, there’s no guarantee that the buyer’s agent will be compensated for his or her services, unless the buyer has signed a buyer’s brokerage agreement that specifically provides for such compensation. Even if a FSBO offers to pay the buyer’s side of the commission, most agents won’t want to go through a transaction with an unsophisticated self-represented seller across the table. That means the pool of potential buyers for FSBO homes is limited primarily to unrepresented and possibly unqualified prospects.

3. FSBOs usually overprice their home. Like most homeowners, most FSBOs honestly believe their own home is worth more than comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Usually, they’re wrong. A real estate agent can provide an update on market conditions, an assessment of the likely selling price of the home and tips for improving the home’s buyer appeal. Overpricing a for-sale home is a sure way to deter potential buyers.

4. Buyers will feel intimidated. Potential buyers will spend less time in a for-sale home if the owner is present during the showing, and they’ll be shy about discussing its pluses and minuses with their own agent if the owner is within earshot. Buyers will also be less inclined to make an offer if they know they’ll be negotiating directly with the seller. Having an agent on each side creates an effective emotional buffer between the seller and buyer.

5. FSBOs are likely to stumble into legal trouble. Real estate transactions are fraught with potential liability for unwary sellers, particularly in states that have extensive disclosure requirements. A FSBO who overlooks even one required form or legally mandated disclosure could face a protracted and expensive buyer lawsuit after the transaction closes.”

6. Preparing the House for Sale. According to eHow contributor Keith Olsen, “FSBO sellers often fail to critically assess the saleability of their property, ignoring details such as curb appeal, clutter inside the house and other distractions that may leave a negative impression on a buyer. Real estate brokers who deal with buyers regularly learn to anticipate buyer objections and can suggest changes to the buyer before these problems affect the sale.

Especially in today’s Montgomery market, it takes expertise to get a property sold. An owner can try it by themselves, but will often end up turning to a Realtor for help……after wasting valuable time. A good Realtor will pre-qualify buyers, advertise your property, arrange showings, prepare the contract and follow up on inspections and financing. Believe it or not, they will keep your best interests at heart and help you navigate through the complicated process of selling a home, all while selling your home for the highest price.

Photo by Casey Serin

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