"Mother, Please!, I'd rather do it myself!", was the memorable rant of a daughter on a 1960's TV commercial.
"Mr. Phelps, Your Mission, Should you decide to take it..."
In the glory days of the Housing Bubble it seemed a home owner could sell their house by just sticking a sign out in their front yard.
If you're generally a DIY'er (Do It Yourself-er); doing your taxes, financials, and car repairs; then you're a potential candidate to sell your home yourself.
Here's a Top Ten List of why you should sell your home yourself:
1) I've sold other things before, I can SELL my home myself. Nationally, almost 13% of home owners try to sell their homes themselves. It can be done. But be prepared for a lot of surprises: unqualified buyers ("Buyers are liars"), just-lookers (nosey neighbors), random door knockers, low-ball investors, mandatory State forms and paperwork, and rookie-tele-market-cold-call-prospecting Real Estate Agents trying to list your home. You can be on the "Do-Not-Call" List and also sell your home yourself. Talk to people who've done it before. Get a good book on selling your home yourself. Get a good Real Estate Lawyer (hourly rate). A Lawyer who does at least 25% of his work in Real Estate.
2) I can PRICE my home myself. In surveys by the National Association of Realtors, pricing the house correctly is the most difficult problem for For Sale By Owners (FSBO's).
- Priced Too Low: You sell quickly and don't get the best value. Another NAR statistic: FSBO homes sell for over 16% less than comparable Agent listed homes. Although I doubt most Real Estate numbers, this stat gives you an idea of the importance of the right price.
- Priced Too High: Your home sits on the market and doesn't sell. There is a time value of money. The rule of thumb for a home's carrying costs is 1% of the value of the home per month. Can you bear the costs of carrying your home on the market, and the possibility of carrying 2 homes, if your old one doesn't sell?
3) I can STAGE my home myself. The second most common problem listed by FSBO's is staging their home to sell. Do you know the general rules: clean everything, de-clutter, neutral colors, cosmetic improvements, etc. Just watch an episode of "Flip This House" and you can see what value a properly staged home can bring. There are professional stagers, but that's another hit to your bottom line vs the percent commission.
4) I can ADVERTISE my home myself. Print advertising has been the biggest area of Real Estate advertising, but be prepared for a shock. Most Agents/Brokers get favorable ad rates from newspapers. You don't. Remember, advertising comes out of your bottom line, but it's included in the Agent's commission.
5) I can MARKET my home myself. Just putting a "For Sale" Sign on the front lawn is not all there is to marketing. We've all heard the story of Uncle Ralph's friend who put out a lawn sign and sold his house for his price the same day. Do you have a professional network of Agents with the most qualified leads? Do you have a way to efficiently contact all them and let them know your home is for sale? Do you have an MLS? If you can independently get on the MLS, that will cost you, too ($395-$995in Rochester, NY). Again, all out of your bottom line.
6) I can INTERNET MARKET my home myself. Over 75% of home buyers start their home search online. Almost 100% use the Internet at sometime during their home search. If you're not there, you're missing most of your market. Your house may never be seen by all your potential market. In my un-scientific observation of the past 6 months of FSBO leads (over 300), less than 1/3 offer an email address contact. In fact, many more sellers are on the "Do-Not-Call" List, than show an email address. Are you prepared to push your listing out to all the local and national Websites: Local MLS, Zillow.com, Google Base, etc?
7) I can NEGOTIATE my home price myself. Potential buyers know you're saving the 6% and expect you to share at least 3%, if not the whole 6%, with them. Unqualified buyers often target FSBO homes, draining you of time, effort and patience. If you don't like bargaining, haggling and negotiating; then selling your home yourself may not be the right decision for you. If you decide to give the Agent who brings the deal a 3% commission, that also comes out of your bottom line.
8) I can do all the PAPERWORK myself. If you love paperwork at work, at home or at tax time; you'll love selling your home yourself. If your State is anything like New York, your home sale transaction is protected by a wall of paper. Did I sign this? Did my spouse sign that? Did I fax this? Did I mail that? You better have a list of lists, with all the due dates, the do's, the to-do's, the to-don't-do's and the "Doo-Bee-Doo-Bee-Doo's".
9) I know a good Real Estate LAWYER. You better. If you decide to go it without a Real Estate Agent, you'll need a Real Estate Lawyer, who has experience with closings. As an Agent (in New York) I know the laws, the forms and all the other paperwork are constantly changing. It all falls under this year's "Lawyers, Politicians and Bureaucrats Full Employment Act, 1099BS". Don't worry. It's in there.
10) I know Real Estate Agents make too much MONEY. Some Real Estate Agents make a lot of money, but so do good agents and licensed professionals in most other areas of business and sales. If there were 8 million residential homes sold last year and 2 million Realtors, then the average Realtor sold only 4 homes. Not enough commission to make a living. Fees are negotiable, and the national average commission is only a little over 5%. In most States you can still buy marketing and advertising services separately and in some places even buy MLS access. But again, it's your bottom line. Real Estate Agents don't get paid until you get more. Real Estate Agents don't make more unless you make more.
11) Good Luck.
Adapt Or Die! Happy Searching.
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