Homeownership often embodies the largest investment most people will ever make. When the time comes to sell your big asset, how are you going to go about it? For many people, the 6% of the sale that is shared by the seller’s and buyer’s agents represents a substantial slice of equity gone.
The big question is can a property owner, willing to put in the work, do what an agent does? Out of all the services agents offer – finding a real-estate attorney, managing home viewings, etc. – their main service is convenience. Appraisers, not agents, are necessary for an accurate home valuation. Real-estate lawyers, not agents, are responsible for documents and legalities relating to the sale.
Some people realize, after buying and selling several properties that they have been paying real estate agents a lot of money for something they could potentially do themselves. But how do you sell a property while keeping more of the proceeds yourself?
These are the functions an estate agent performs on your behalf to earn their commission. If you are planning on removing the middleman and doing the job yourself, you’ll have to take these steps.
1. The number one service a real estate agent offers is convenience, not just doing all of the preparation but giving you the benefit of their knowledge. Without this you will need to do the research as well as the legwork. With online property tools, agents are no longer the only source property owners have when selling. The Internet has basically levelled the playing field across the real-estate market.
2. Agents list your property with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Agents leverage the Multiple Listing Service as their exclusive marketing tool, but anybody can access the MLS if they are willing to pay for it.
3. The agent will market your home using fliers, advertisements, and their web site. They promote the property by planting “for sale” signs, making flyers, placing Craigslist adverts, and even setting up a web site to market the property. One resource a savvy seller can use is FSBO.com. There you’ll find affordably priced home-selling packages to help property owners do marketing and promotion themselves, including items like brochures and yard signs. Although there will be some costs in advertising your sale, they will be a fraction of an agent’s commission. Where the real cost comes in is, in the amount of time and energy you will need to put into selling your home.
4. Here’s the convenience factor again; an agent simplifies house showings and hosts open house events. You’ll still have to prepare your house for showings and open house days. Deep-clean, shampoo the carpets, clean other flooring, and declutter. The final result should be a home that’s sparkling clean and stripped of personal items.
5. An agent acts as go-between in negotiations and accompanies you to the closing. Possible downsides are that agents like to close deals fast to get their commission, even if you don’t receive your price. They could also mistakenly reveal your negotiating position, something a distressed seller would never want enthusiastic buyers learning. By doing your own negotiating, your financial position is never revealed to the buyer. When it comes to paperwork, there are standard contracts for real estate sales. At the end of the day, it’s best to have all documents and contracts related to the sale of your home reviewed by a real estate attorney.