Do Sellers Need a Real Estate Agent?
Now, come on. Do you really expect us to tell sellers that they don't need a Real Estate agent and that they can do it on their own? The truth is, you CAN sell on your own, and in this strong seller’s market it is tempting to save that commission and not pay an agent to list your house. Here are some things to consider before you list your home on the market as For-Sale-By-Owner.
Here is what research by NAR and professors show:
- 93% of the time you are still going to pay a commission to the buyer’s agent.
- Not setting the correct price in the beginning WILL COST YOU MONEY!!!! Seriously, if there was only a single piece of information that we wished sellers would internalize – this is it. Buyers determine the market, not sellers. Agents know the recent sales and concessions to help you find the sweet spot, or quickly price correct if you missed it.
- You will devote time and energy to selling your home, and statistically, you are probably not going to walk away with more money in your pocket for your devotion. NAR says the average FSBO sale in 2019 was $200,000 and the average Realtor sale was $280,000. It is the difference between buying a diamond ring at a yard sale and buying a diamond ring at a jewelry store. Would you pay the same amount?
- Everyone in the process knows that you are saving that commission and adjusts accordingly – from the buyer, to the lender, and then the appraiser are looking for a little piece of that savings you want to pocket.
- The best salespersons handle the emotions of a transaction in stride and keep the buyer and seller from walking away in a moment of pique. The more experienced they are, the better they handled the roller coaster of emotions that are a natural part of the process of moving.
- Seriously, if you are not paying attention to the fine print of the contract, it might cost you time and money OR land you in court defending yourself! Agents are trained how to avoid the many mistakes that landed agents in court. Agents have experience knowing the promises buyers and sellers make to each other in the various contracts. What you do not know CAN hurt you here and no amount of Googling questions will make you an experienced agent.
- It is easy to overwhelm buyers and scare them away from making an offer on your home. Whether it is because of the amount of neglected maintenance, the way the backyard handles water, the pet odor, requiring them to use a certain contract, or embarrassing them by telling them to step away from something precious, selling a home is a meeting of the minds. This is a big investment for the buyers and too many unknowns can steer them away from making an offer on a house. An agent will help you navigate this process and meet your goals.
- Be careful who you let into your home. Mr. Lawyer would have let anyone in to see his house if they promised to pay what he was asking. On top of that he did not want to see agents with potential buyers and that is crazy. Agents are trained to make sure buyers are vetted before showing them houses. At the very least, they check identification and follow safety instructions before meeting buyers. When you list with a professional agent, they will put the keys to your house in a lockbox that is only accessible to Realtors and documents when and who comes and goes. (There is a Bluetooth device in the box that pairs to phones of Realtors through a service we pay for.)
- Do not stay during the tour. If you have an agent, they will advise you on how to protect your valuables and there is really No reason for a seller to stay during a buyer's tour and there are MANY reasons for the seller to give the buyer the space. Following buyers around and ‘explaining’ your house is not helpful and it keeps the buyer from picturing themselves living there.
What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Good Real Estate Agent?
As with any profession, there are Realtors out there that make the rest of wonder how they manage to keep their licenses with all their shenanigans. Most Real Estate agents want to do a good job for their customers. Here are some signs you have a Realtor who will have your back.
- They will be honest with you about the price you have chosen for your home.
Just about as important as picking your agent is picking the listing price. It is a balancing act, and if you price it too high, buyers will just walk away without making an offer. Too low and you leave your equity in someone else’s pocket. An experienced agent will have a process for providing you a price range recommendation and a process for recognizing that the house is not priced correctly. They will get you feedback from showings which will help you decide what issues to address or offer concessions on. Staying on the market too long at too high a price will net you less money than if you corrected the price right away. Great agents are worth more than the commission you will pay them to help you sell your house.
- They explain the paperwork and hoops that must be jumped through.
Every two years agents must take continuing education in the core laws surrounding Real Estate transactions. Experienced agents help you recognize potential problems and understand the promises being made in the offer for sale of the house. They can also help you with making sure you put in writing everything you need to disclose and keep yourself out of court. (When in doubt- disclose.) They can also help you understand your risk exposure when you agree to read letters from buyers. They can also recognize when unsigned contract riders would let a buyer walk away and receive their deposit back all the way to closing day. Please visit this page if you have any more questions about Realtors.
- They have a phone full of local contractors they recommend to you.
Tallahassee is gorgeous and it can be tempting to call off work and run to the beach on any random day of the week. It seems that happens to many of our local contractors because they never seem to answer the phone when you call. This is especially true if you need a small repair in July or August. That is the dreaded time of year in the college side of town known as “Turn.” (Turn is the time when the students go home and contractors rush into the student housing world and repair/remodel the rental units before the students return.) Why that matters to homeowners is that when you sign the contract you have agreed to a timeline and if you have agreed to repairs and can not find a repairman to complete them, you may end up in breach of contract through no fault of your own.
- They can suggest unique solutions and help you negotiate in your best interests.
There is a story of an experienced boiler repairman called to a multi-million-dollar ship because the crew had been unable to find a resolution to recurring problem with the boilers. The repairman carefully walked around the engines, boilers, and pipes, and peeked behind ducts and checked all the corners and joints, and fittings. Finally, the repairman came back to his tool bag and grabbed a small hammer. He crawled under a pipe and into a corner and very gently tapped a pipe a couple times. He crawled back out and declared the problem solved. To the Captain’s amazement the boilers came back online and the engines were soon humming along as they should. The Captain was also amazed at the $20,000 bill the repairman handed him. When questioned about why it was so expensive to tap a pipe, the old repairman said, “It’s only a dollar for me to tap the pipe. It was $19,999 for me to know which pipe to tap and how.”
Negotiations is an art and not everyone is comfortable haggling with strangers. If this is you, you are in good company because most Americans do not negotiate or haggle in their daily lives. A Sellers Real Estate Agent is experienced in negotiating and together with the professional on the other parties side, their job is to find a ‘meeting of the minds’ and help you meet your goals.