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Thursday, February 25, 2016

For Sale by Owner

Ok, I own this house and I'm ready to move.  I don't really want to just 'give away' a bunch of money to sell it.  How hard can this be anyway right?  Put an ad in the paper, take some photos, write up a description of the house, put a sign in the front yard and wait for the phone to ring.  The market is turning around so I should have people lining up to see my house cause it's the best one on the block too!!!  Once I get a contract, I just take it down to the title company and wait for them to do their job and they'll call me to tell me closing is scheduled, show up for closing, get my check and BOOM!  DONE!

Sounds simple and easy right??  Guess what, it really is long as you live in a world that works that way.  Unfortunately, this world don't work that way.

I've worked with folks that have tried to sell their house by themselves and really given it a very nice try but there is SOOOO much more to it than running some ads and putting a sign in the front yard.

Honestly, I know people that have successfully sold their home on their own so it's not impossible.  But, they will tell you it's work and it's harder now than it was years ago.  Plus, there is more liability selling your own home than it used to be too.  The internet has been a real blessing to many that want to go it on their own and be successful.  I have actually helped people sell it on their own too.....for FREE.  Is it something I do on a regular basis?  Nope!  But, more times than not, when I do help people, they are not successful and they come back to me asking for me to get this beast off their back.

Here are some questions to consider if someone is wanting to sell their home on their own.

How will you market your home?  You can run an ad in the news paper.  Most likely, one ad will cost you more than it will for an agent.  What about Zillow or Trulia?  They have options to advertise for sale by owners don't they?  That will get it exposure right?  Well, yes and no.  The public will see your home and YOU will have to take the calls.  The problem, most buyers are afraid of working directly with the sellers.  They fear the owner will 'pull a fast one' or be offended by negotiations.  So, they work with real estate agents.  That means you need access to the MLS (Multi List Service) which all agents have access to for housing inventory.  While that is opening up to the public, you still have to pay for that access.  You want to get your house to the best buyers and the best buyers work with agents to get the best deals.  Now, for the agent to show your home, most likely you'll have to pay them.  So, do you want to pay an agent to negotiate AGAINST YOU without representation?? The tables just got turned.

What about disclosures of any repairs?  Selling your home does not require you to disclose anything.  However, buyers really feel better about giving top dollar when they know they have a new roof, HVAC, no plumbing problems, etc.  Selling on your own, you don't know what to disclose and what not to disclose.  When you do, you have some liability to be correct so with an agent representing you, they take on that responsibility to make sure they are correct.

How will you schedule showings?  If you live in the home, do you want to take time off work to show your home?  Someone needs to be there to let them in, look at the home, answer questions.  If you have time on your hands, you're in good shape but most of us don't want to be stuck in the house waiting for the phone to ring.

How do you handle any repairs?  So, let's say you've gotten this far; you've got a buyer, negotiated the price and the buyer wants to have an inspection.  The inspector comes back with a list of items the buyer wants repaired.  Now what do you do?  Fix them all?  None at all and walk away?  Scream?  Selling on your own, you have to decide with no guidance.  An agent can help with that process and help negotiate that process where it's not too painful.  In fact, many times, repairs are nothing more than a 'wish list' but some are absolutely critical and need to be done anyway.

These are just a very small part of the questions you need to consider when you are thinking about selling your house on your own.  It can be done with great success but just know you are 100% liable for every phase of the transaction.  A real estate agent will carry Errors and Omissions insurance which can be a good protection for both agent and seller.  The cost of an agent to represent you is very much worth the costs and most of the time, you end up with more money than you would if you had tried to sell it on your own.