So, you decided to sell your home!
Now what? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m a believer in the “why” question. I literally will sit on an idea for weeks or even months before I can prove to myself that I have a legitimate “why” to execute it. So let’s consider why you want to sell your home. You may be downsizing, upsizing, relocating, have family issues, stopped making payments, are facing legal issues, or simply done with home ownership and want to rent. None of these? Then let me know, I love to know reasons!
Ok, you know why you need to sell. The next question is deciding how you will go about it. There are really only a couple options. You either sell on your own as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO, or “fizzbow” – a name all local real estate agents will be jokingly calling you) or you hire a real estate agent.
I worked in the real estate industry for four years and was involved in over 100 transactions. Let me give you a few tips from a “client” point of view as opposed to a “Realtor” one.
Deciding whether to sell on your own or with an agent will depend on several factors: how much you need to net, current market conditions, your level of sales expertise, and how much time you can afford to invest in the process.
Let’s start with the market
If it’s a seller’s market, not much is required to find a buyer. Stick a sign in your yard, put it on Zillow, Trulia and for more exposure MLS. You can list a home on MLS with a flat-fee limited service agency for a few hundred bucks. Inventory is low and prices are climbing – these are indications of a seller’s market – you should get plenty of inquiries quickly if your price is reasonable.
Getting inquiries is a good thing, but how do you turn them into legit buyers? Who will be showing them your home? If you are not working and readily available during the day, evenings and weekends you can handle your own showings. Most buyers will be represented by an agent (to whom you should be prepared to pay 2.5 – 3% as a rule). If the buyer is not represented, however, be careful. Don’t show your house to strangers when you’re home alone. Have a friend or family member there with you to avoid any unexpected circumstances. Before you show your home to a potential buyer, ask lots of questions and request proof of funds (bank loan approval letter or account statement). It’s totally fine to ask people why they are interested in your home, whether they are employed, and if they are pre-approved for a loan.
So, let’s say you’ve gotten plenty of interest, tons of showings, and finally – an offer! Now what? At this point, it may be wise to hire a real estate attorney or ask a title company for assistance. I suggest you use a title company to do your title search, title warranty, and help you with closing paperwork. If you’ve bought several properties in the past you may have enough experience to feel confident working directly with the title company without a real estate agent’s assistance.
Hiring a real estate agent can be very beneficial since its his or her job to represent your best interests in the transactions (not the buyer’s). A good agent will take care of showings, pre-qualify buyers, market your home, and take care of all paperwork. Moreover, a Realtor can tell you with accuracy what your home is worth, maximize the offer amount by creating increased interest via proper advertising, and handle negotiations. How do you set your home apart from the competition? How do you expose your listing to as many potential buyers as possible? A good agent knows answers and delivers results.
Marketing on the Internet is a major portion of any marketing campaign. Providing top quality marketing and web distribution/promotion of your property, together with correct pricing, will assure a faster sale for the highest dollar possible. Whether on your own or with a help of an agent – you can do it!