So you’ve decided to sell your home. Congrats! The next step you take will impact how the next few months of your life play out — how much time you spend dealing with contractors, researching real estate legalese, and so on. It could also directly impact the amount you receive in the sale of your home.
What options do homeowners have when selling their property (and why should anyone selling a home contact a real estate agent pronto)?
For sale by owner
For sale by owner (FSBO) is exactly what it sounds like. You, the owner, handle everything that’s involved in the selling process, from preparation to renovations to marketing and beyond. With the growing popularity of online listing services, more people use FSBO options to sell their homes than ever before.
That’s almost always a big mistake. What many people don’t realize is selling a home is pretty much a full-time job. FSBO sellers are responsible for scheduling and overseeing renovation work, running advertisements, connecting with prospective buyers, prepping for open houses, and performing countless small, unexpected daily tasks. In short, it’s a big headache for busy homeowners. FSBO comes with a lot of risk and hassle — and not many benefits.
Plus, without experience and the right information, a lot of people end up getting less than their home is actually worth. Just because you can do something yourself doesn’t mean that you should, especially when it comes to selling a home.
Selling your home with a real estate agent
From the moment you decide to sell to handing off the keys, hiring a real estate agent takes all of that hassle off your plate. Experienced, hands-on real estate pros can provide:
A trusted Realtor will know what home shoppers in your area want. Before you start ripping out light fixtures and replacing faucets, you should know what kind of upgrades add value (and which ones are a waste of money). An experienced, trusted Realtor can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars based on that local knowledge and seller resources alone.
Full service Realtors like Laura Dandoy do more than advise, they take on tedious project management tasks themselves to create a painless selling experience.
What does that mean in practice? Your Realtor will oversee renovations, prep for showings, and price your home based on real local market value. Once your property is on the market, they’ll manage advertisement, handle open houses and client showings, and provide valuable support to your and your family to make that process as unobtrusive as possible. Plus, they’ll know local contractors that do the best work for the best rate.
The nitty gritty
A real estate transaction involves numerous documentation and due diligence processes that are unfamiliar even to most homeowners. For FSBO sellers, missteps during closing can lead to unexpected costs and delays — even a lost sale.
Did you remediate radon levels in a compliant manner? Are you getting the best deal on escrow? Did you get every document that needs signing… well, signed? Chances are you don’t have immediate answers to these questions. Your Realtor, however, will.
How does it all break down in dollars and cents?
The big motivator for most FSBO sellers is money. The prevailing logic says money that doesn’t go to a Realtor’s fees goes back into the seller’s pocket. However, that’s very often not the case.
Common missteps during the sale process will erode the amount you receive in a sale. People who lack real estate marketing experience will often spend a lot of money and see little return for their efforts. Many others will invest in renovations that aren’t in step with current tastes and buyer trends — a mistake that could make a home more difficult to sell without improving margins.
Even when you factor in sweat equity, FSBO will almost always generate a lower return than hiring a professional real estate pro at the end of the day. Because your Realtor comes to the table with experience and connections, they don’t make amateur mistakes that hurt your margins. Realtors streamline the selling process and mitigate the impact of unexpected costs. The property will spend less time on the market, which increases the likelihood that you’ll get close to your asking price.
How do you find the right real estate agent?
Finding the right real estate agent isn’t always easy — chances are you’ll have dozens of options, many of whom will have similar credentials and marketing approaches. How do you find the right match?
- Look for Realtors with experience specific to your area
- Ask friends and family for referrals
- Vet Realtors by asking the right questions
Looking for a Realtor with experience in Claremont and the foothill communities? With more than 25 years of local knowledge, Laura Dandoy RE/MAX Resources is the best team in the area.
Ready to sign on with the best? List your home with Laura Dandoy.
Originally published August 15, 2017. Last updated September 17, 2019.