An opinion is a beautiful thing. We are entitled to them and everyone certainly has one, especially when it comes to the best way to market a listing.
Some homeowners and industry professionals warn against embarking on a solo project, while others encourage working sans-agent.
While it’s true that most homeowners choose to enlist the help of a qualified REALTOR® to buy or sell a property, it’s not an impossible feat to go it alone.
In fact, with the proper knowledge, research, and resources at your side, you can become an expert do-it-yourselfer – and save some cash, while you’re at it.
However, there’s a reason REALTOR®s are so highly in-demand. The work they do is time-consuming and pain-staking, and requires careful thought and critical decision making skills. If you still believe you’re up to the task, here’s some pros and cons to help make your decision a little easier.
Doing it Yourself
Although it may be a little more difficult and require more work on the part of the homeowner to market a listing without the help of a REALTOR®, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
In fact, 12% of homeowners bought and sold homes without the help of a REALTOR® in 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Make no mistake, buying or selling a home all by yourself is a momentous task, but there are several ways to do it, according to experienced homeowners and industry professionals.
Flat Fee Brokerage
A flat fee broker is one that will work for a reduced commission with reduced services. The brokerage can be hired to market your listing on an MLS system and may handle the paperwork for you. However, unlike a REALTOR®, a flat fee broker works in a limited-service capacity.
Typically, the brokerage is paid a flat fee to negotiate a single deal for you, but your transaction won’t go any further than that.
A flat fee broker can save a DIY homeowner a perceived amount of money, but won’t protect them from potentially disastrous financial mistakes, bad investments, loss of assets, or anything else that may go amiss outside of the transaction.
It’s hard sometimes even for an experienced REALTOR® to gauge the value of a property. Even a properly priced home may not sell for what it’s worth, and may linger on the market for longer than expected due to uncontrolled circumstances.
You can avoid some of the hassle of conducting market research yourself by paying for an appraisal. This will tell you how much your home is worth based on the price of other properties in your area, the current market value of your home, its age and added assets, etc.
If you’re not satisfied with your appraisal, you can always pay for another one from a different appraiser. That’s the thing about appraisals – they’re opinions based on statistical data. Each appraisal will result in a different value, so you must decide which value will intrigue buyers the most.
One of the most important elements of any listing is eye-catching and beautiful photography that displays the best features of a home. Lucky for you, this is also one of the easiest things to do without a REALTOR®!
You don’t need a DSLR camera, tripod, and Photoshop to create stunning visuals of your home to upload to Zillow and other listing websites. If you have access to a Smartphone, that’s good enough.
However, staging your home is essential. Spruce up that dingy wall with a fresh coat of paint. Liven up your den with a couple scented candles and a few new throw pillows. Move some stuff around, add a rug, have some fun! Then snap some shots of your beautiful “new” home and upload them for the world to see.
But be warned, once you post your personal information on the internet, you’ll be fielding phone calls left and right.
Agents, unqualified buyers, investors, potential tenants, your neighbors, and unsolicited callers will blow up your phone – and not all of them will be polite.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, let the showings begin!
Remember, a request is just that – a request. Not all potential buyers who state their interest will show up. Brace yourself, it’s just the beginning.
Sticking With a REALTOR®
At this point you may be thinking, “Doing it yourself sounds so easy, why would anyone waste money on a REALTOR®?” Here’s why.
The truth of the matter is, whether you’re buying or selling a home, it is a full time job. Besides the obvious challenge of researching and negotiating price, hiring contractors, and doing your own marketing, there’s all the “little” things.
When you sell a home, the logical next step is to find another home to live in, right? Without a REALTOR®, the task falls to you to find a great neighborhood, with the best schools, in close proximity to your workplace and conveniently located adjacent to all the amenities you frequent – all at a price within your budget. And don’t forget the mountains of paperwork.
If that’s not enough to convince you, perhaps the following opinions from industry experts and homeowners might.
A 24/7 Business
If time is not on your side and patience is not your forte – if you value your sanity – don’t go it alone. Real estate is a 24/7 business. You need to be available when showings are requested, to take incoming phone calls, and take the time needed to not only start the process but follow your way through the deal after the property closes.
Not all sales are ‘final’, and there will always be something that comes up post-closing that needs to be dealt with. Real estate can be very stressful because there are so many factors that play into one single transaction. An experienced REALTOR® not only knows but expects this and can protect their client throughout the transaction and even after a deal closes.
Many homeowners choose to work with a REALTOR® simply because it protects them against possible safety issues.
Consider the risks you’re taking when you post your private information or photos to a public website such as Zillow or Kijiji.
Unqualified buyers and even complete strangers can view this information and gain access to your personal life.
Conversely, when you work with a REALTOR®, they share your listing information via an MLS system which is accessible to other REALTOR®s and industry professionals who then share the listing with their own clients.
A REALTOR® can also advise you on how to protect valuable assets within your home when hosting showings for potential buyers.
There are a myriad of liability issues which can arise when buying or selling a home. Most homeowners are unfamiliar with the laws they are subject to when listing their properties, and this can lead to unfortunate legal entanglements.
Experienced licensees know the law. They know what can and cannot be done when selling a home. They understand contracts, negotiations, disclosures, addenda etc. No two forms are alike and each has a specific meaning. It’s critical to understand what you’re signing each and every time you apply your signature to a document, and to always read the fine print.
It’s an unfortunate truth that scammers are a dime a dozen, and they sometimes pose as potential buyers. It’s difficult for a homeowner to spot one on their own, but a savvy REALTOR® can sniff out a scammer from a mile away.
It’s undoubtedly an easier road to work with a REALTOR®, considering the weight they take off a client’s shoulders.
Taking the road less traveled by may be more challenging, but it’s an accomplishment worth seeing through to the end.
Whatever you decide to do take all aspects into great consideration, it’s your money in play on the table. Choose wisely.