If you are planning on selling your home, then it is likely that you have at some point considered forgoing working with a REALTOR® and listing your home as For Sale by Owner (FSBO) instead to save money. If so, you are not alone in thinking this. Considering a real estate agent charges a commission that can reduce your profits from the sale, going FSBO can be a tempting option for many homeowners; however, there are major risks that can come with attempting to sell your home on your own. Not only have studies shown that FSBOs often sell their home for less than people who work with an agent, but there are other risks homeowners can face if they choose to forgo working with an experienced REALTOR® as well. Here are just a few of the risks you could face if you attempted to sell your home without an agent.
Your listing may not be seen
The primary problem with trying to sell your home without the help of the agent is that it can be extremely difficult to market your home on your own, and your listing may not be seen by potential buyers. When you work with a real estate agent, they will create a listing for your home and will be able to post it on the Multiple Listing Service®. The MLS® is a service real estate agents pay to put their listings on, which then distributes a listing to hundreds of regional home sales databases. When you work with an agent, your listing will then be seen by countless potential buyers. While FSBOs can create their own listing and place it on sites that cater to FSBOs, these websites have far less traffic, which can make it much more difficult for potential buyers to find your listing.
Even if your listing is seen on an FSBO website, you may not be able to sell your home if you do not have a professional-looking listing that catches the reader's eye. Image is critical in real estate, and you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. Real estate agents know this, which is why they work hard to create an advertisement that will best highlight your home by staging it properly and bringing in professional photographers to capture your home's best features. Unless you have experience staging homes for sale and creating professionally designed listings, your home's listing may fall flat and deter potential buyers, whereas a real estate agent can give your home the best chance of attracting interested buyers.
Selling your own home can be a legal nightmare
Attempting to sell your home on your own can also prove to be a legal nightmare if you are not fully versed on the laws and regulations governing home sales in your area. What many homeowners do not realize is that selling a home can come with legal challenges if you are not familiar with real estate law. The biggest issue that can arise is if you fail to follow your jurisdiction's disclosure laws, as a buyer could then sue you after the sale if you fail to disclose certain facts about the home before the sale. Working with a REALTOR® will help to protect you from such legal challenges, as they will be fully versed on disclosure laws in your area.
Time vs Money
When you go the FSBO route when selling your home, you will essentially have to act as your own agent. This can mean spending a great deal of time trying to get your home sold by advertising, planning, and running open houses, as well as meeting with real estate agents and potential buyers. This could mean spending all of your nights and weekends trying to sell your home instead of spending time with your family. Thusly, when trying to decide whether or not to work with a real estate agent, you have to decide how much your time is worth, and whether you want to spend all of your free time trying to sell your home. Particularly since FSBO homes tend to take longer to sell, you may be forgoing your free time for several months if you do not work with a real estate professional.
You could lose money
As we previously mentioned, FSBO homes tend to sell for less than those sold by REALTORS®, and there are several reasons why this is the case. One of the primary reasons for this is that most homeowners do not price their home properly. While some homeowners will list their home too low, many will list their home too high to start. Listing your home for too much can cause it to sit on the market for a long time, and even if you lower the price, buyers may start to believe that something is wrong with the house if it has been on the market that long, which may cause you to have to sell your home for less than it is worth. A REALTOR® can not only help you to list your home for a competitive and fair price, helping you to sell quickly, but they can also handle complex negotiations for you, ensuring that you get a good deal out of the sale.
Closing can be complicated
Of course, things really get complicated for FSBOs when it comes time to close the sale. Do you know what your next steps will be? Once a home is under contract, there are still several steps that a homeowner must take before the deal is closed. Not only can this process be complicated in-and-of-itself, but things can get more difficult for homeowners if a problem arises, such as a home inspection issue. This is the most critical time to have an experienced real estate professional by your side as they can walk you through this process, answer all of your questions, and ensure that everything goes smoothly as the sale finalizes.
Make things easier by working with a REALTOR®
When it comes time to sell your home, it is important that you do not try to do so on your own as this can create unnecessary problems and stress throughout the entire sales process. However, when finding a real estate agent to work with, it is important that you consider working with a REALTOR®. Unlike regular agents, REALTORS® are professional members of The Canadian Real Estate Association who have the knowledge and experience to make the home buying process as simple for you as possible. Contact us to learn more about REALTORS® and the importance of working with a REALTOR® when selling your home.