Selling it Yourself versus Paying a Realtor
Almost every homeowner considers the possibility that they could go it alone and sell their own home, in order to save on real estate commissions. Selling a home without professional help is often a quick path to significant savings, because paying commissions to real estate agents is expensive. The thing to determine, however, is whether or not that expense is justified and whether or not it pays for itself in terms of convenience or higher sales price. Good arguments can be made for both choices – using a real estate agent or just going it on your own – but the important thing to do if you are making this kind of decision is to explore your options beforehand. Once you know the facts, you can take an informed and educated plan of action.
“For Sale by Owner” is a do-it-yourself project that certainly can save you a serious chunk of change. The broker commissions on real estate sales vary from one jurisdiction to another, but are generally in the 5-7 percent range. Hire a pro to help you sell a home for 5,000 – which is close to the median price of a home in the USA right now – and chances are you will pay somewhere in the neighborhood of ,000.
And if you are planning to sell yourself, the biggest advantage you’ll have compared to 10 or 15 years ago is that you can now participate in the official Realtor property database or Multiple Listing Service (better known as the MLS). For a set fee, you can upload a detailed advertisement along with photos of your property to the MLS and gain immediate computerized access to potential buyers, to let them know that your property is on the market. With that kind of exposure, you may not have to spend any other money on advertising.
You will have to go through a licensed Realtor in order to list your property in the MLS, and pay fees associated with the service. But if you’re selling a house, the MLS is worth every penny. Step it up a notch by using an “upgraded” arrangement such as a “discount broker”, and you can get additional benefits and services. For example, you can sell your own home but still hire a so-called “discount broker” to help with the nitty-gritty details of the transaction. Real estate agents who hire-out for part time work will offer you a menu choice of various professional services, for things such as making appointments, conducting tours of your home, and writing legal contracts for purchase offers. You do part of it yourself, and pay a pro to do the rest.
One thing that many people forget is that if they set out to sell their home by themselves and it doesn’t work out the way they planned, they can also exercise their option to hire someone else to do it for them. So not matter what you decide to do, it doesn’t hurt to first experiment and find out first hand what you are comfortable with and capable of doing.