Not many people try to sell their home by themselves, but some do, and some do it very successfully. However, statistics show that 85-90% of For Sale By Owners will end up hiring a Professional REALTOR® after trying unsuccessfully by themselves. In fact, it was only just a few short years ago that Colby Sambrotto, one of the founders of the Internet listing site ForSaleByOwner.com, ended up hiring a REALTOR® to sell his condo after he spent 6 months trying to sell it through online and classified ads! So what are the Pros of selling your home by yourself? The answer is simple, and I can only think of one.
- The prospect of saving money.
Now let’s discuss the Cons of selling your home by yourself.
- Limited access to marketing. While there are websites devoted to helping homeowners selling their own homes, it’s likely that your home will sell faster and for more money when exposed to a larger audience of qualified Buyers.
- Unqualified Buyers. Have you pre-qualified potential Buyers prior to opening up your home to them? This is something that REALTORS® do before taking clients out, but unlikely that you will be able to, and unlikely that the Buyer will give you this kind of information if asked.
- Inexperience of Financing Options. Are you familiar with the many options involved regarding financing a mortgage?
- Inexperience in Drafting Professional Enforceable Contracts. Do you know how much of a deposit to ask for and where to deposit it? How much time do you give to resolve Subjects? Do you agree to an extension of Subjects if the Buyer asks, yet possibly lose out on other prospects? Do you know how to deal with Subject to Sale and what to do if another offer comes in? Have you got the correct wording in your Contract to deal with this?
- Inexperience of Subject Clauses: Do you know what clauses to use so that all parties are protected? Do you know what conditions to include? Do you know the difference between fixtures and chattels and have you disclosed what might be included or excluded in the sale? Do you know what a material latent defect is? Have you filled out a Property Disclosure Statement and do you understand the importance of this?
- Are you Available to Show the Home at all Times of Day and Evening? If not, are you comfortable using a lockbox so Agents can access the home to show it? Do you know that most Agents prefer the homeowner to be out of the house while showing it?
- Are you Requesting Feedback? I believe it’s a REALTOR’S® duty to contact Agents who has shown the property and get feedback for the Seller so they know how to improve on the home if possible as well as hear comments regarding price compared to other homes they’ve viewed. Are you contacting the REALTORS® who have shown your home and requested feedback?
- Inaccurate Pricing. Many homeowners believe that pricing their home higher is a good negotiating tool so that they can negotiate lower when an offer comes in. It’s been proven time and again that this method is not a good one and in fact often eliminates Buyers right from the start because the home is over priced and out of the price range it should have been in. Have you done a Current Market Analysis and are you familiar with the trends in your neighbourhood? Have you checked into all the recent sale prices, compared the lot size, house size, updates etc. in order to accurately price your home?
- Inexperience in Negotiating the Terms of a Contract. Do you have a history as a negotiator and/or have you taken courses that teach how to handle objections and deal with complications? Do you know how to address problems that Agents see on a regular basis that they frequently don’t burden their clients with?
- Buyers Agents Still Want to Get Paid. Let’s face it – nobody works for free. While you may think that we’ve not done much work when we get to your home with an offer, we might have spent months taking these Buyers out house hunting, paid for gas and telephone, meals and stationary to stay in touch, and it sets the tone when we come to a For Sale By Owner home and are not offered the commission we work for.
There is usually a great deal of emotion displayed by the Seller who is selling their most prized, and likely most expensive, possession. The Buyer, who is probably making the largest purchase of their life, will also have a lot of emotions to deal with. This makes it very difficult to be objective and to negotiate a smooth transaction without the help of a trusted REALTOR®. A Professional REALTOR® will be able to anticipate the bumps in the road, the potential problems during negotiating, and will smooth these out so you experience a positive outcome.