It’s usually not easy to sell a home. The process can be lengthy and expensive, and often more than not, a little stressful. There are ways to make it more straightforward, but, for some homeowners, the possible upsides of going it alone make this path more appealing.
There are basically two main choices available to a seller when trying to sell a property:
Each method has its own pros and cons; the main thing to figure out is which one best fits your needs and particular situation.
Real Estate Agent
Having a good real estate agent or realtor by your side throughout the sale process is incredibly helpful in a wide variety of ways and a number of reasons. Although, before we get into the many upsides of selling with a realtor, it’s important to highlight the one downside: the cost. Most real estate agents charge a commission of the profits from the home sale. Generally, this commission sits at around 5-6% of the home’s closing cost. So, if your home sells for $500,000, you can expect to pay about $30,000 for your realtor. But, while this might sound excessive, the money accomplishes a multitude of different things.
For starters, real estate agents help with overall preparations for the sale. This involves, among others, the staging of your home. Basically, they figure out new, creative and unique methods of setting up the home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. This might involve repainting, rearranging furniture, changing the overall lighting scheme of your home, and more. You can do this on your own, but your chances of a quicker closing process are much higher if you go the professional route.
Your realtor will also be responsible for marketing your home, which is one of the most powerful things they can offer. Yes, there are other ways and websites you can use to market your home by yourself, but your realtor will have access to the Multi-Listing Services, which is a website where realtors can show off your house to a much wider digital audience than you, by yourself, can access.
If you choose to sell your home on your own, your life will be utterly consumed by the process and conversely, if you do not give it the necessary time and attention, then your property will very likely not sell as quickly as it otherwise could have.
If you decide to sell your house by yourself, you will be the one that has to worry about staging, marketing, running and advertising open houses, giving potential buyers tours, and dealing with buyers’ agents. Most people simply don’t have the time to dedicate to this process, nor the know-how to do it. But, with a realtor you don’t have to worry about these things – they take care of everything for you – that’s really what you’re paying for.
Beyond that, there are legal matters that are easier to deal with if you have a real estate professional working with you. In this instance, in addition to the value that a real estate agent will bring to the table, another party that will be very important and invaluable to the transaction is the presence of an experienced real estate attorney. Preferably one that is local to the area where the property is to be purchased. For instance, a NYC real estate attorney should be sought out for a property deal that is being bought and sold in the city of New York, or perhaps in the entire state of New York.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO)
It is important to mention that while you might be able to handle many of the things that a real estate agent might otherwise handle for you if you went the route of FSBO, the number one thing that you likely will not be able to handle by yourself is matters that have a legal aspect to it, such as the necessary contracts that are to be drafted and signed by the parties to the sale, or the escrow account where the funds for the purchase are to be deposited.
One of the main reasons when an FSBO option might be more appealing to a seller is when such a person has the necessary time and know-how to make it happen. Additionally, there is the intention and opportunity to save on the fee that would otherwise have to be paid to the realtor.
However, even though an FSBO option might technically save you money, there is some evidence that suggests that most homes sold by agents often sell at a higher rate – even after the realtor’s expense fee, than those sold directly by their owners.
Which Option Should you Choose?
Having said that, the fact of the matter is that the option that is best suited for you will usually be dependent on a number of factors, many of which have already been listed above. In some situations, even if you decide to sell your house by yourself it is possible that at a later stage, perhaps at the time of closing the deal, you might need the input of a real estate agent.
It will, therefore, do you good to take your specific situation into consideration and decide what you believe will work best for you. The general consensus, however, seems to be that more often than not, using a real estate agent is more likely to be beneficial to you in selling your house.