Debunking the Myth of More Net Gain with For Sale by Owner

Debunking the Myth of More Net Gain with For Sale by Owner

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By Elaine VonCannon, ABR, SRES, Associate Broker, Notary, Team Leader, Property Manager, Award Winning Agent

Are you thinking of selling your home on your own, without the aid and professional advice of a qualified REALTOR? You may want to re-examine your decision to do so, because chances are good that you will not increase your net gain by selling your own home.

Do you believe your savings on commission will be your reward after you attend a seminar or two on selling your own home? A home sale is a complex series of transactions with multiple parties. Not only is it time consuming, consultation and coordination with professionals at every level is necessary. Attendance at a seminar or two does not make you an expert on home selling.

The average person will buy two to three homes in one lifetime, unless they are a property investor. A top producing REALTOR will average 5-10 transactions per month. A REALTOR with knowledge and experience in the profession will be able to enhance your bottom line on a home sale. Here are some common questions I am frequently asked by For Sale by Owner sellers.

Q: I recently attended a seminar on selling my own home. Won't this enable me to do it on my own?
A: The seminar was probably sponsored by a lawyer, closing attorney, titling company, or lender. The facts you can obtain in three hours or less are not enough to teach you how to get more money for your largest investment: your home.

Q: How do REALTORS sell homes quickly?
A: A staggering 80% of home sales are done through a Multiple Listing Service. REALTORS have access to this. With a listing on MLS sellers have the entire membership of the MLS working for them. Sellers may have as much as several thousand members depending on the area or residence. An MLS listing is the most effective way to bring in qualified potential buyers.

Q: What information is most critical when selling a home?
A: A seller needs to know what the state requires as well as what the lender requires when it comes to home sales transactions. He or she also needs to know the timeframe for all transactions. If time frame is not adhered to the contract can become null and void.

Q: I live in a residential community and am selling my home. How do I deal with the Home Owner's Association effectively?
A: Do you know the timeframe for the Home Owners Association (HOA) packet in your area? If the HOA package is not received in the required timeframe of your state then the buyer may cancel the contract with no penalties to the buyer. These matters are of the utmost importance when dealing with an HOA.

Q: Why does a home seller even need a real estate agent?
A: If there is no middle party to negotiate between the buyer and seller, you can become deadlocked on terms, have your property tied up, or end up in litigation. If your property is tied up for months you might have missed the right buyer who is willing and able to pay the price you want. Also a REALTOR will not have the emotional ties to the transaction that a seller has. The REALTOR is also separate from the buyer's objectives.

Q: Doesn't hiring an attorney take care of contracts?
A: If you think an attorney drawing up a contract makes you free and clear of worries and responsibilities - you're wrong. The attorney does not have the time to stay on top of this to make sure everything required is done on the home before closing. If you do want the attorney to handle the details, you'll pay a lawyer's fee, which is usually $100 per hour and up.

Q: How does a REALTOR arrive at a market price on a home?
A: A REALTOR will price your home much like an appraiser would. A REALTOR compares your home to what has sold in the area in the past three months. They know the inflation record in your area. A REALTOR's research also consists of checking court records to see what has sold in this area. This covers home sales not listed on MLS, but by law has to be recorded at the court house for a specific area.

Q: How can a REALTOR possibly improve my bottom line on home sales, when I'm saving on commission?
A: On every listing I have sold, I have procured for my sellers $10,000-$50,000 above what they thought their property would sell for - after they had paid all the fees including commission. A majority of For Sale by Owner's homes have sold for less than what a REALTOR would have obtained.

I would like to reiterate the importance of the seller selecting a REALTOR who knows the ins and outs of contractual agreements and has some experience behind him or her. Hiring an experienced REALTOR to help sell your home will the wisest investment you've ever made.