Monday, March 23, 2015

Using a Realtor vs. For Sale By Owner

Tanyan Davies-Wall
Homeowners know their homes better than anyone else, but that doesn't always mean they are the best salespeople for their homes.

Some sellers try For-Sale-By-Owner because they want to avoid paying a commission to real estate agents. Others are tempted into believing that in a sellers market their homes ought to be easy to sell on their own.

Statistics show that selling your home with a Realtor will bring you a higher profit, even with the commission taken out. The National Association of Realtors reported that in 2013 the average FSBO sale price was $175,000 while average sale price with an agent was $215,000. That doesn't necessarily mean a Realtor can get you an additional 23 percent in profit. But he or she may have a better idea of what your home is worth and what can be done to get the best price for it.

 Consider the advantages a Realtor has:
  • Access to market data to position the home on the market appropriately
  • Evaluation of the local market and comparable home  values
  • Expertise on how to improve a home’s appearance by staging and minor repairs, so it will appeal to a wider  audience of buyers 
  • Expertise at negotiating contracts and paperwork and scheduling of inspections and appraisals. 
  • Access to advertising, including the Multiple Listing Service and other media.
  • Flexibility to show the property when you aren’t available
  • The option of screening visitors to your home, which provides a measure of safety
  • Ability to coordinate with the buyer’s agent through the escrow process
  • Expertise at closing, making sure everything is correct, evaluating documents and answering questions. 
Most buyers use an agent to help in negotiating their contract with the seller. People who go the FSBO route have to rely on themselves to finalize a contract. The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19 percent to 9 percent over the last 20 years.

Think about it. You may end up selling your home for less money and having to deal with legal problems unless you seek the help of an attorney to advise on the legal aspects of the contract. This is why most sellers prefer to work with an agent rather than risk an unsatisfactory home selling experience.
Tanyan Davies-Wall is a Realtor with Voigt-Davis Realty and a member of the Square One business development network.