There aren’t too many homeowners who don’t at least consider giving themselves a chance at selling their own property; putting up a “For Sale by Owner” sign on the front lawn, placing a couple of photos and a description of the property on the internet and possibly saving a whole lot of money on a commission. Especially in this difficult real estate market, saving some money can appeal to a good many people. But there is always more than meets the eye to any situation, so, if you’re seriously thinking of going it alone without a qualified real estate agent, here are a few things to consider and even some tips for you.
First consider your time. Will you be able to leave work to show your property at any given time to a stranger? If your work schedule is flexible, this may work for you. Remember that some people are just “lookers” or may not be financially qualified to purchase your property and may be “time wasters”. Even though you may be anxious to show the property, remember to ask the right questions beforehand. Real Estate Agents/Brokers deal with these questions on a regular basis and find it easier than the average homeowner to bridge the tough questions without fearing they are turning off the potential buyer.
Second, do you know how to price your house to be competitive without giving away your well earned equity? Do you have access to the necessary comparable sales, so that you can derive the correct asking price? Can you be objective about your homes worth? Most homeowners can’t, they have too many memories and love their home too much to be objective. Pricing the house incorrectly could waste your time and time equals money in a declining market. A professional real estate broker can evaluate your home with market data including comparable sold properties and current listings and give you recommendations. If you decide to go it alone, you may want to pay a licensed appraiser to provide you with the current market value of your property before investing time and advertising money. Which brings me to the next point:
Next consider your marketing strategy. Do you know where to advertise? Which website is effective and safe? Or, how much to spend on advertising? When you list with a real estate broker, they pay for the marketing including the print ads, internet websites, signs, possibly virtual tours, brochures, etc. In addition, a broker can place your property on the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which shares your listing with hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of other real estate brokers. If the real estate broker is a REALTOR®, they can place your home on REALTOR.COM which is the leading website in the country that purchasers turn to when searching for a home. Homeowners don’t have such a vast network at their disposal.
After you find that purchaser, do you know the next step? Most homeowners are not aware that they are responsible to provide a purchaser with a Lead Paint Disclosure and a Property Condition Disclosure. The Lead Paint Disclosure is required for homes built before 1978. The Property Condition Disclosure is required by New York State and if it is not provided to the purchaser, the homeowner will be penalized $500.00 at the closing. A real estate agent in New York State will advise you of your responsibilities and provide you with the proper forms. Whether you use an agent or go it alone, you should also hire a local attorney who is versed in real estate and will draw up the contracts and advise you as well.
So, if you are considering putting up that “For Sale By Owner” sign, my best advise is to do your homework, possibly read a book on the subject and make sure it ‘s right for you! If you feel you’d like the assistance of a real estate broker, please give us a call, we'd love to help – it’s what we do!