One of the big questions that many potential home sellers have is, “Do I need a real estate agent?” In some circumstances, like making a direct sale to a friend or investment group, it may not be necessary. However, in most cases, it is generally the best course of action. Let’s take a look at five problems that can occur by selling a home without a real estate agent.
1- Longer Selling Times
On average, houses listed as “For sale by owner” (FSBO) take longer to sell than those listed with a real estate agency. As the amount of time the house sits empty increases while you look for a buyer, more maintenance will be required and you’ll also be on the hook for mortgage and property tax payments.
2- Legal Compliance and Paperwork
One thing that homeowners might not realize is the high volume of paperwork that goes into selling a home. Additionally, there might be local, county, or state laws that homeowners might need to follow when their houses go on the market. Instead of spending hours researching them yourself, a knowledgeable local real estate agent who has sold dozens or even hundreds of homes will know right away what needs to be done.
3- Lower Sale Prices
FSBO homes also tend to sell for lower prices. Although it may not always work out, the ideal situation for a homeowner is a bidding war between two more interested parties. This will raise the price and in many cases will lead to the final price being higher than the original asking price. These negotiations are best handled by expert real estate agents who are paid on commission, giving them extra incentive to get you the best price.
4- Local Market Knowledge
Real estate agents, especially those who have been working in one area for a while, will have a considerable amount of local market knowledge. This includes things like the best times of year to sell, the types of things that buyers look for in a home (like a fenced-in backyard, for example), and the average selling price of homes compared to their value as assigned by the property tax assessor’s office. This information can be difficult to get for the average homeowner with little to no experience.
5- Too Much Effort
Finally, FSBO homes require a lot of effort to sell on the part of their owners. This includes aspects like advertising, holding open houses, showings, staging, and much more. By using the services of a local real estate agency, these homeowners are able to do other things, like working on their new homes, taking less time off work, and enjoying their newfound free time.
These are five potential issues that come up for homeowners who choose to sell without a real estate agent. Although it may seem like a good idea to sell yourself, it’s highly recommended to receive expert help with putting your home on the market. Ask local friends and family for recommendations on which real estate agents to use.