Once you have decided to sell your home, your next decision should be, how. How are you going to sell it? Are you considering For Sale By Owner? A discount Brokerage? Or, do you want to pay that hefty commission and use a realtor®?
Let’s look at your options. For Sale By Owner means you will not have to pay a commission–well maybe. You see, many buyers know they should use a realtor to protect their interests–and it doesn’t cost them a dime to use a realtor® on the buying side. So, if a buyer who is using a realtor® wants to see your “For Sale By Owner” home, they will have their agent contact you directly and negotiate a commission before he/she shows your home. And sometimes it will be in your best interest to go ahead and offer a commission to any agent representing a buyer. That is just one scenario. Let’s just say you have no agent involvement. How do you know the real value of your home? Will you use Zillow’s zestimate? Will you go into tax records of all your neighbors who have sold in the last 6 months? How will you know the true value? Looking in tax records, you can also get a guestimate on the value of your home. Our tax records always show an estimated value based on sales in the county over the last 6 months or the last year. Again, this is a guestimate because, they are considering all the sales in the county. You need to be sure you are comparing apples to apples. For instance, in my neighborhood every house is different. In the last neighborhood I lived, most all the houses were the same with the exception of a few. However, they were not all comparable because they looked the same. From the outside you could not tell if it was 3 or 4 bedrooms. You could not see if there were upgrades. You could not see the size of the lot. There are a lot of factors to pricing your home. Did you know a ranch plan of comparable size and comparable building materials has more value than a 2-story? Did you know a finished basement does not equate the same value as above ground square footage?
How will you as a for sale by owner, schedule showings? How will buyers gain access to your home? Obviously you will be the scheduler and the shower. Well, you could put a coded/contractor key box on the door but, do you want just anyone entering your home? Will you open your home to anyone who calls? How do you know they are qualified buyers and not just someone being nosy? How much time do you think you will need to be home to show?
Where will you market the home? Zillow does allow FSBO’s to list on Zillow so you can get quite a bit of exposure on Zillow. Who will take your pictures? Will they be good quality pictures? Will they show your home in the best light? You will need to buy a sign, make some flyers and be sure to post on all social media. Will you want to host an open house? Agent luncheon?
How about negotiating? Are you a good negotiator? I used an agent to sell my own home just so I did not have to personally talk to the buyer. I am a softy and probably would have given the house to someone if they gave me a sob story. But that is because it is personal to me. As an agent, I have no problem negotiating for someone else because it isn’t my decision. My feelings do not matter. My clients feelings matter to me. Will you be offended if someone low balls? Where will you get a contract and will you understand it?
Statistics have shown that For Sale By Owner sales are typically lower than those sold by an agent. In addition, FSBO typically take longer to sell, have more difficulty with all the paperwork and have less time to devote to the sale of their home.
A discount broker might be a better option than For Sale By Owner. The discount broker typically charges a flat fee plus 3% commission or 4% of the sales price. The 3% commission will go to the co-op agent and 1% to the discount broker. So what does this get you as a seller? You are one step away from For Sale By Owner with a discount broker. They will place a sign in your yard, place your home in the multiple listing server which will send it out to many online services like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com. . . So you will get a lot more exposure. You will not have to worry about a co-op agent calling because they already know you are offering a 3% commission if they sell your home. They will also, typically, give you a lockbox which will allow agents access to the house when you cannot be there. They will provide all the forms but, they will not negotiate for you nor will they represent you to make sure the process is smooth. They will also help you price your home. So it is a little better and a little easier for you.
In both the above cases, if the buyer has an agent representing them–who represents you?
What if you list with me and Diana? As realtors® and full time agents, our duties are to our clients. Though we cannot speak for every realtor®, we believe most will do the same things. The best thing to do is interview. To begin, we will do our best to get you the most for your home. However, we will not tell you it is worth more than the true value. Over pricing a listing just to get the listing is a huge mistake. To determine the value, we will research like properties and do a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to show the value. We pride ourselves in doing our job right. We will sit down with you to discuss our plan so you are prepared for each step of the way. We will provide a sign and lockbox and we will take professional pictures. We will list in the 2 multiple listing servers that service the metro Atlanta areas and it will be sent to 50-100 different sites for home sales. Your home will get maximum exposure. We will also, post on social media and depending on the area–we will market different ways. We often send postcards to surrounding neighborhoods or perhaps your neighborhood. We will host an open house and/or an agent luncheon. We send flyers out to all agent offices to announce the sale of your home. We will negotiate in your best interests on any and all contracts that might be submitted. We will advise you throughout negotiations and beyond. We will guide you through the process and update you regularly. Typically we update our sellers on a weekly basis during the listing to keep them up to date on any and all calls, showings and feedback. During the contract we will follow up with the co-op agent, the lender and the closing attorney throughout and we follow up with our seller on a weekly or as needed basis. We go to the closing with you in case you have any questions.
Working with a realtor® can assure you of a smooth sale, but most importantly remove the stress of selling your home, increase your chances of getting true market value for your home and having someone who knows and understands the proper forms and contracts to use and someone working in your best interest. Is that worth the additional 1-2%? We think so.