The real estate market is still on fire! This has many potential sellers asking themselves if listing their home with a real estate agent is necessary or not, especially when homes are selling so quickly. After all, the home inventory crisis continues to be a relevant theme, especially with buyer demand up by 60%.
While “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) is still an option for any seller in 2021, it comes with its own set of risks.
Larger Networks Mean More Exposure
When it comes to an FSBO transaction, marketing your home can seem as simple as utilizing your circle of contacts and/or listing your home yourself using a plethora of online listing services such as Zillow, Redfin, and Opendoor. But it is important to know that these resources only stretch so far.
While using your own personal or professional sphere is always an option when selling your property, there is a strong chance that this network will have no large interest in spreading the word about your home. This may cause a smaller pool of potential buyers viewing your home and, therefore, could result in a longer home listing period or even a less desirable sale price.
A huge part of a real estate agent's job is to nurture and expand their past clients, databases, and other agent and real estate agency relationships to better their future closing transactions. At any given moment, a successful agent should be able to notify this extensive list of contacts and create buzz around your newly listed home. Agents can do this through email marketing, social media marketing, the use of a real estate professional’s website, and good old-fashioned word of mouth.
Another huge component is access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that a licensed agent or broker is provided. Other agents representing local buyers will heavily use the MLS to notify their clients of potential new properties for sale. Often a fresh list of homes that match your home’s features will be pulled and sent to any buyer looking for a place similar to yours.
Using a combination of these resources, your home is constantly receiving the exposure it deserves, ultimately providing a smooth and rewarding sales experience.
The Emotional Side of Selling a Home
When selling your home, it is easy to get emotionally involved. If you love your home and have poured time and energy into it, parting with it may be overwhelmingly difficult for you. A real estate agent is there to help you through this process by providing unbiased professional advice and expertise. Without an agent by your side, your judgment may be clouded by your predisposed opinions.
For example, you may become offended by a lower-than-expected offer or sensitive to what others have to say about your home during the showing process. An agent can deal with any offer by giving a fair counteroffer to the buyer’s agent or address negative opinions by redirecting attention to your home’s winning qualities.
Essentially, real estate agents will be able to communicate with prospective buyers much more objectively than you would on your own. Agents have a plethora of experience selling homes which means they know how to effectively communicate with buyers by using appropriate language and maintaining an impartial tone.
The Skill Required in Negotiation
Even if you have sales experience, you probably don’t have the same specialized experience negotiating the sale of a home. This could lower your chances of succeeding in the negotiation, meaning less money in your pocket. When listing your home, you wish to sell it for as much as possible, and you may think parting with the extra agent commission will help you accomplish just that. On the contrary, in 2018, the typical FSBO home sold for $217,900 compared to $295,000 for agent-assisted home sales.
Not only does your lack of experience hinder you from maximizing your sale value, but you are also more likely to be emotionally invested in the home selling process. This can lead to poor decision-making along the way. Instead of making an emotionally charged response to a potential buyer, an agent will respond with professional delivery. An experienced agent may have negotiated hundreds of home sales, giving them the upper hand in identifying warning signs.
Sellers who sell their home FSBO are also often not familiar with their area's local procedures or market conditions. An experienced real estate agent knows the pulse of the market, which gives them the leverage of knowing which terms are worth negotiating for and which aren't. Local procedures can also be tricky to understand, such as knowing whether the buyer or seller typically pays fees such as the transfer taxes and closing costs.
Paperwork & Legalities
Don’t underestimate the amount of paperwork and legality that goes into selling a home. Your real estate agent knows the ins and outs of the transaction, so while they can help you take the emotions out of selling your home and ensure it’s marketed properly, they’re also going to help you avoid future legal risks.
One of the biggest examples of this is disclosures and whether or not they’re done properly. Without the proper documentation, you open yourself up to risk that an experienced agent would avoid. For example, do you need to tell the buyers about pests or leaks in the roof? What about if there was a death on the property? While you may not be 100% sure, your agent will be able to help you through.
This article from Forbes goes a bit more into detail about what disclosures are and the risk associated with not bringing them up the right way.
Real Estate Is A Full-Time Job
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but generally speaking, most listing agents work in real estate full-time - and by full-time, we mean 24/7, 365 days. That’s right. Agents often work atypical hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays. But while great agents are busy providing their clients with full-time value, chances are you, or someone in your household also has a full-time job.
At first, you may feel like you can handle the showings on your own, but realistically you can’t rush home from work every time someone wants to see your home. You can’t take every midday phone call inquiring about your home because you have your own job-related responsibilities to tend to. You probably won’t have the time or the knowledge to properly market your home reaching buyers where their attention is today.
The good news? A full-time agent does all of those tasks and more! They say being a jack of all trades means you’re a master of none, which is true in this situation. A great real estate agent knows the industry inside and out, and their sole focus is on you and your home. Most households have a lot on their plate, especially right now. Why would you want to add learning real estate to your plate when you can lean on a seasoned professional to take care of virtually everything for you with minimal stress involved? Even if you’re still convinced you can sell your home on your own, the calls and showings are only the beginning of the process. It only gets more complex from there as you move into negotiations, appraisals, and stacks of paperwork.