Should You Sell By Owner

An article appeared in a local Massachusetts real estate magazine called, „Could You, Should You, Sell Your Own Home?“ written by Edward Moore, then VP of the Realtor Association of the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts. The publication of an article of this nature points to the increasing pressure real estate agents feel, fearing the growing boldness of home owners who are choosing to sell „on their own“. The information below is provided as an opposing viewpoint to questions Mr. Moore posed in his article, which asked the question, „Could you sell your home by yourself?“

1) Do you have sufficient knowledge to price your own home? Mr. Moore and I agree on this point, somewhat. The #1 mistake FSBOs make when selling is incorrect pricing. It is hard to remove emotional attachment, do the legwork to find comparables (although there are many resources available to obtain this information) and to price their homes well without help. That is why we recommend the use of a professional appraiser and not an agent market analysis. Remember, a lender will not lend money based upon this method, and will require a professional appraisal by a licensed appraiser.

2) Do you have the skills and resources to advertise and market your home effectively and are you prepared to pay advertising costs and be available to handle calls? The skills needed to advertise and market a home effectively might not be second nature to many, but here is where the support of a local for sale by owner service can be very useful. Advertisers are taught how to use a combination of cost-effective local, regional and out of area marketing to generate wide exposure. Can you answer the phone, chat briefly with an interested party, and make an appointment? We think so.

3) Do you know what financing is available? The home seller need not know the intricacies of every loan program out there. They may want to put together a list of reputable local lenders for the buyer to call and have a financing sheet available, as we recommend to our advertisers.

4) Do you have a network of buyers…can you screen unqualified prospects…are you comfortable greeting strangers who stop by at 9:00 p.m. because they saw your yard sign? Agents hold out this –network of buyers–like candy in front of FSBO’s. Ask them to bring the buyer over and suddenly they disappear. Most people looking for property these days are looking with more than one agent and on their own too. Will you greet a potential buyer at 9:00 at night? I doubt it, any more than you would want an agent coming to your home with minimal notice at any time of the day.

5) Are you available 7 days a week to show your home? (Buyers will expect you to be available at their convenience, not yours.) Maybe buyers expect agents to be available at the drop of a hat, but we have never heard from one of our advertisers that they felt inconvenienced when scheduling buyer visits. In fact, sellers have told us repeatedly that it was much less stressful scheduling visits around their busy lives, while cooperating with the potential buyer. Anyone who is truly serious about seeing a home will usually bend over backwards to accommodate the seller. We do give sellers tips on how to effectively schedule private showings and open houses.

On the contrary, we have heard from sellers that they were much more inconvenienced by agents (who were in the area) bringing buyers who were „getting a sense of the market“ and weren’t really qualified, nor had a big interest in seeing their home.

6) Do you have good negotiating skills? Are you comfortable haggling face-to-face over the price? Will you be ready to reveal known defects of our home and do you know what you are required, by law, to reveal? A fairly priced home should not require „haggling“, and both buyer and seller should anticipate some back and forth during negotiations. If in doubt, ask your twelve year old how to negotiate. We negotiate with people every day – with our children, bosses, and significant others. Many times the ability to sit down quietly (buyer and seller) at the kitchen table, makes for better communication than the „arms length“ method commonly used by agents – the last thing they want to have is buyer and seller together. Meeting together is actually a great time saver as questions and concerns may be answered quickly and easily. The responsibility of the seller to reveal known defects is no different selling „by owner“ or using an agent. A seller should ask their attorney for advice regarding disclosure and the buyer should request a professional home inspection be done as part of the sale.

7) Can you write a binding contract? Here is where the scare tactics get really interesting. Our advice? Based upon the many attorneys who have presented at our home seller seminars – hire a good real estate attorney to draw up the purchase and sale contract and make sure that the sale is contingent (among other things) on both attorneys (buyer and seller) reviewing the contract. Of course, ask your attorney if any questions arise along the way.

8) Can you close a sale? The seller does not need to „close“ the sale and most likely will not even attend the closing. That is one of the reasons to hire an attorney to represent you. A good attorney, in addition to the lender (plus a buyer attorney) should help keep things on track. Our advertisers, as a matter of fact, are given a list of steps that will occur prior to closing as a courtesy as well as access to a 160 page, step-by-step, ‚how-to‘ book called, „How To Sell Your Own Home“.

So, can you sell your own home? Of course you can. The author, in saying, „Most homeowners, however, recognize the wisdom of working with a trained, licensed professional to handle the many complex details of a home sale“, was obviously thinking of a real estate agent. We happen to think that the professionals involved should be: an attorney licensed in, and familiar with Mass. real estate law, a Mass. licensed professional home inspector and a Mass. licensed professional appraiser. Together with the homeseller, this is the winning team!

Agents hope that home sellers have not taken the time to educate themselves, and will rely on ineffective methods of advertising and marketing. Agents are well aware that they have a greater likelihood of capturing a listing from a frustrated FSBO seller due to inadequate advertising methods. Sellers who understand that exposure is a key element to a successful sale will not fall prey to this unfortunate scenario. Remember, a well maintained, fairly priced, attractive home can, and WILL sell itself, given adequate exposure.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

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