Does the following statement sound like you? “I can keep calm in emotional situations and use sound logic.”
If so, you might be the type of person who would be successful in a For-Sale-By-Owner situation. Congrats! There aren’t many of us. Sure there is physical, mental, emotional drain, but there is hope for financial gain through savings. Selling your home is, understandably, your largest financial investment, so knowing how to negotiate and separate logic and emotions is essential.
If saving money is your biggest concern, we’re here to help. No one wants to lose equity on their home and give away a portion of their investment. Therefore, if you’re serious about learning how to sell your home without a realtor, it’s best to be prepared.
Today we’ll discuss: what specifically do real estate agents do, and how exactly to act as your own real estate agent to sell your home.
What does a realtor do?
Before – Before someone signs a listing contract with a REALTOR®, agents do a lot of pre-preparation and homework. It is important to understand that an agent is one who has chosen to make a living off of the “everyone is a client” mentality. Because of this, great agents always do their research. Real estate agents also work on selling themselves and their value. Prior to working with a client, they spend their time focused on lots of lead generation, and keeping up with local, state, and national news surrounding real estate.
During – During the waiting period, before an offer is accepted on a home, listing agents will list the house in the MLS. Agents will also market your home, often with their own money, and organize showings of your house to make it seem as presentable and desirable as possible.
After – After an offer is accepted, their work isn’t done yet. A good agent will make themselves available for inspections, manage all the contracts/paperwork, and act as the middleman during negotiations to smoothly accompany you to close at the title company.
The Most Important Question
Before all else, you must ask yourself, “Am I offering a BAC – Buyer Agent Commission?” If the answer is yes, great news! You are now legally allowed to have your home listed in the MLS for a small flat fee. If you’re selling your home by yourself, this will make your life so much easier. The biggest benefit is that it gives you access to a multitude of websites to promote your home including: Realtor.com, Transactly, Zillow, and many other household names (no pun intended).
However, if you’re not offering a BAC, you’re at a disadvantage. Since other home sellers will have access to the MLS, they will get more offers. It’s not coincidence that those with MLS access sell faster and get higher net prices on their homes. That’s why Flat Fee MLS listings are known in the industry as “a better alternative” for when sellers want to save money, still sell, and not pay a listing agent.
How can I sell my home without a realtor?
Price & Prepare your home to sell
If you choose not to list your home in the MLS, the most important key to prepare your home for sale is to: be aware of local market activity and compare prices. The biggest reason a home doesn’t sell is because it isn’t priced competitively. The longer your home is on the market, the more time, energy, and money is spent on marketing.
Transactly Tip: Many realtors will offer a portion of their services for free – such as a comparative market analysis. Listing agents do this in hopes of tipping the favor towards them if you decide to list your home. Even if you have no interest in working with a listing agent, this is valuable and free information to you.
To market your home successfully, not only will you need “for sale” signs, pamphlets and brochures, most importantly, you’ll need energy, time, and money. This alone is why some want a real estate agent. Agents risk their own money on marketing your home hoping for the best. If you’d rather spend your money doing this, that’s your decision.
However, you can still sell your home, without a realtor, and get help with marketing. There are cheap resources out there who, for a small flat fee, will provide you with 2019 Transactly technology to sell your home quickly. More specifically, you’re provided with a unique URL from which to promote your home. Through this URL, not only can you promote and market your home, but you can accept offers on it, too. Ads on Craigslist, and a note in your Aunt Linda’s church bulletin, likely are’t going to cut it for those who are serious about selling quickly and getting a high price.
Prepare to show your home
When it’s your house, you’re likely aware of what the highlights are to best stage the home. But, what do your friends and family think are the best aspects of your home? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s best to get multiple perspectives on what features to highlight. Armed with this knowledge, your next step is a deep clean of the home. Scrub down and dust everything. You’re looking for a pristine look that will appeal to the masses. Some home sellers will take this time to hire a professional cleaning crew to really make sure all is ready. Here are some must-do repairs before selling a house.
Show your home
What is the value of an Open House? In a recent HomeLight survey on the value of Open Houses, 63% of agents didn’t always recommend them. However, the ones that do recommended Open Houses, suggest that Sunday is the best day of the week to get the most foot traffic and visibility. If the house is in the back of a crowded neighborhood, and there are a lot similar properties on the market, you must consider, how are you going to get people there in the first place? Effective marketing and preparation must come prior to showing your home.
Most For-Sale-By-Owners (FSBOs) are surprised to learn that the buyer has more power than they originally thought. This is because the buyer will have an agent with them, and the FSBO will not. This agent will have access to confirmed and accurate contracts. Meanwhile, understandably, most FSBOs are unsure about contract accuracy, how to negotiate, and what exactly to do when a contract finally comes their way. If you’re adamant about negotiating on your own, make sure you’re familiar with counter offer strategies. The back and forth process will continue until both parties come to an agreement.
After negotiations, if you’re not an expert in contracts, it’s best to have your lawyer take a look at all paperwork. You’ve come this far, so you don’t want to get a raw deal now by not referring to an expert in land, law, or negotiations.
A cheaper and just as effective alternative, is to find a quality flat fee MLS service. Agents close deals for a living, and if they don’t close, their family doesn’t eat. If your primary goal is to save thousands by acting as the listing agent yourself, there are happy mediums where you still get MLS access, save money, and have someone bring you a serious buyer.
Compliance with the law
No matter where you live, it is imperative to comply with your local laws when selling a home. While there are different rules on the local, state, and national level, there are universal laws, such as the Fair Housing Act, that are in place to avoid discrimination. Are you familiar with everything that entails?
If you’re looking for contracts and agreements to get started, some general forms can be found online. However, be cautious that not all forms are created equal or, for that matter, legal depending on where you live. As a result, the safest move is to have your lawyer, or title company, review all contracts and documents prior to signing anything.
In the end
For many, the stress of selling your own home can be an emotional process. Understandably, it’s your largest financial investment and memories attached all around. The process is no doubt physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting.
Because of this, the ability to sell your home without a realtor is not for everyone. The extra time and burden of stress, for most, isn’t worth the money saved. You’re the master of your own situation, so you be the judge.
Regardless of if you choose to go it alone, or work with a full-service agent for just 1.5%, here at Transactly, we wish you the best of luck.
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