Selling a house without a realtor sounds a lot better than it is in reality. Often owners get sticker shock from the idea of paying a Realtor a percentage of their home price but there are distinct advantages and real risks to going it alone. Remember half of the commission is going to be used to compensate the buyer’s agent and only half compensates your agent who is doing the lion’s share of the work relating to your home sale. Here are the eight critical risks of selling a house without a Realtor that every seller should consider.
1. You Lose Time
Time is money. Especially in the market to come, sellers cannot afford to lose time accomplishing their sale. When prices are turning down, every extra week on market can cost the seller real money. Time is valuable, it is not replaceable and it is finite. If you don’t have time to be a full service Realtor; discerning the best offer, negotiating terms, repairs, credits, monitoring the buyer’s loan, making all of the required legal disclosures and coordinating the transaction to a successful close – you should hire a professional. You’ll need time to take good pictures, write a compelling description, find the best places to post the property online, and then create an account with each online site you want to advertise on, host open houses, tell other Realtors, show the home, compare pricing and condition of competing properties and so much more.
When you’re selling a house without a realtor, you also need time to talk with buyers on the phone, day or night. You’ll need time to show your property whenever it’s convenient to a potential buyer, and you will need to be ok with the loss of time when potential buyers dono’t show up.
You’ll also need time to answer questions and respond to emails. You have to remember to reach out to people who visit to get feedback and follow up. And if you get sick, go on vacation, or just have a big project at work, nothing gets done because you don’t have the time.
2. You Don’t Put Your Best Foot Forward
You’re good at your job, but your job isn’t selling homes. Do you know how to make that perfect first impression that will have buyers competing over who gets your home?
Homes that are presented in their best light sell faster and for higher prices than those homes that aren’t. A Realtor should arrange professional photography and video and present your property online in the most effective manner. Some remodels or landscaping changes are worth the investment to improve your curb appeal and the value of your home, others aren’t. Do you know which ones to choose? A Realtor knows the competition and can point out creative unique ways to highlight your home’s attributes making a sale more likely.
3. You Can’t Market Effectively
A Realtor knows how to attract and entice buyers who will be excited about your home and neighborhood. They know where to find these likely buyers how to let them know about your property. They know whether print advertisements or a social media post would be more effective and they have relationships with other Realtors who may have qualified buyers that would be interested in your home.
Without that knowledge, your marketing efforts will be scattershot instead of targeted. You’ll waste time dealing with people who may not be qualified or interested in your type of property, and you’ll wait longer to sell your home because the right people can’t find you.
4. You Lose Out in Negotiations
Selling and buying a home always involves negotiations. You want to sell your home for the best possible price; the buyer wants to acquire it for a steal—that’s only natural. But when two people are that invested, negotiations can be very difficult and fragile.
A Realtor understands how to bring parties together in a mutually beneficial agreement. Your Realtor also knows what your property is really worth and can help you understand if you need to adjust your expectations or reject an offer that is too low. The market conditions, competition and potential for future losses are best weighed by a professional who will know more about the current market than you might. Without an experienced professional on your side, you risk losing a lot more in the final negotiations than you might save by not having to pay a reasonable commission for their service.
5. You Don’t Have Access to the Best Repair Talent
Repairs are always a sticky point in real estate. As the seller, you’re not interested in spending anything more on a repair than you have to. You want to get rid of the place! But naturally, buyers don’t want to buy a new home that requires extensive repairs, either.
Your Realtor can recommend ways to head off repair requests by identifying key repairs that may need to be addressed or prepared for because they may be crucial to putting you in the best bargaining position. They will also have a shortlist of reliable, affordable repair professionals who can get your home inspection-ready as quickly as possible.
6. You Miss Out on Agent-Specific Services
There are many things your Realtor can do for you that you might not have even thought of. They can pre-screening potential buyers so you don’t waste time with someone who can’t afford your home or isn’t really serious about buying.
An agent can also do a market analysis and arrange an inspection so you can properly understand the true value of your home and sell it fast. They can arrange viewings at times when you can’t get to the home and negotiate when you’re at work or otherwise occupied. When the buyer gets a home inspection, your Realtor can be there to represent you, so you know exactly what’s being said, and there’s someone to offer perspective. Having someone there keeps you from dealing with unreasonable buyer requests.
7. You Don’t Know What to Do Next
You’ve found a buyer. You want to sell; they want to buy. Great! But do you know what happens next? Do you need to talk to a lawyer? What kind of forms do you have to fill out with city and state authorities? Is there anything you’ve failed to disclose to the buyer that they might sue you over later?
If you don’t do everything correctly, you could put yourself at legal risk. You’re entirely responsible for everything you do when selling a house without a Realtor. Every form must be filled out precisely and submitted to the right person at the right time. If things get too complicated, you might have to hire a lawyer to keep you safe from legal complications, erasing any savings from avoiding a Realtor.
8. You Make a Mistake in Closing Protocol
Closing can be the most complicated part of selling a home. There are bankers involved and timing issues you need to be aware of. For example, do you know whether you’re required to surrender the keys the day of closing, or do you retain possession for a few days?
If the buyer moves in and that same day something suddenly starts leaking, could it come back to bite you? What condition must the home be in before you turn it over to the buyer? If something unexpected comes up, will you be able to negotiate, or will you lose the sale entirely? A Realtor can help you smoothly navigate this tricky period, so your home sale goes smoothly.
What to Look for in a Realtor
- Experience–you want a partner who knows the market and how to get your home sold
- Honesty–a great realtor puts your needs first
- Communication–good realtors stay in touch and keep you apprised at every point
- Strength–the best realtor has to be a strong negotiator willing to fight for you
Avoid the Risks of Selling a House Without a Realtor
Teresa Mack is your Los Angeles real estate specialist. She brings years of experience to the table but is all about pushing forward to a better future. When you need an honest, experienced Realtor with the commitment and strength to fight for you, contact Teresa Mack and work with the best.