If you want to sell a property, you can choose to sell the home yourself or you can choose to sell your property through a real estate agent. A professional real estate agent can attract buyers, market a property, and can get you a great price on your home. On the other hand, an agent takes real estate commissions that can average 5-8% of the selling price. By using a real estate agent, you are also effectively giving another person control of the selling process. If you are having a hard time making your decision, ask yourself a few questions:
1) What is my time commitment? If you are in a hurry to sell your home or don’t have a lot of time, you may want to let a real estate agent handle the many tasks associated with selling a property. An agent will generally screen buyers, market your house, show the property, do all the paperwork, and negotiate on your behalf. If you don’t know how to do all this, you will have to factor in learning time, as well.
2) What is my knowledge of real estate? Real estate agents rely on an agent network and previous experience to sell a property. If you do not have knowledge of real estate but want to sell your home, you will want to research the market before you place your property up for sale.
3) Am I qualified to screen buyers and negotiate contracts? If you want to go the “for sale by owner” (FSBO) route, you will need to hire professionals to run background checks and research sellers. In general, you will want to hire someone who can ensure that buyers qualify for financing and you will want to hire a real estate attorney to negotiate and draw up contracts. However, you will still have to rely on your own instincts about which offers and which buyers are a good fit for you.
4) Do I need to stay in control of the buying process? Many property owners choose to sell their home as a FSBO property because they want full control of the selling process. As the seller, you can choose the price, advertising strategy, open houses and much more. If you sell your home yourself you can choose to see buyers by appointment and manage every aspect of the sale. A real estate agent may have their own ideas about the best way to sell a home. Also, consider that you know more about your property than an agent. If your home has special qualities that a real estate agent does not appreciate, you may be able to offer more information and help to potential buyers.
5) What is the market like? If it is a seller’s market, you may not have any trouble finding buyers and good offers for your home. In fact, you may have potential buyers lined up before you even put your property up for sale. If your home is in a very desirable location or is highly desirable for some other reason, you may face a buyer’s market, no matter what is happening with real estate. If, on the other hand, your area’s real estate market is a buyer’s market or if your home is undesirable to potential buyers for any reason, you may have a harder time selling it yourself.
6) Could my emotions get in the way? Selling real estate is all about emotions. You must engage with buyers and be pleasant in negotiations. If you want to sell your home, you can’t be too attached to the property or a particular price.
7) Would a hybrid route make sense? While most property sellers think that they have to choose between a real estate agent and a FSBO strategy, this is not the case. You can offer your home for sale yourself but hire professionals such as discount brokers, “paid-for-services” agents or settlement agents to help you. You retain control of the selling process but pay a commission to these agents to help you find buyers.
Selling your home can be nerve-wracking. Deciding whether to do it yourself or whether to hire a real estate agent is a big step. Think carefully and answer all the above questions before you decide. The right selling strategy can save you a lot of hassle, so choose wisely.
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