So you are thinking about selling your home...
Your home is most likely the largest investment of your life. Therefore, the sale of it is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will ever make. There is more to the home selling process than simply receiving an offer on your home and determining if it is a price that you can live with. You must also consider what repairs to make prior to listing the property, what repairs you may or may not be willing to do in order to close the sale, closing dates, key delivery, move out dates, renters notices, legal liabilities, disclosure requirements... But before you even reach the moment where you will be making these decisions you also have to consider home preparation and staging, photography, pricing and marketing strategies based on your unique home. When done properly, the process can feel overwhelming if you don't do it all the time!
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Do I list or market my home For Sale By Owner (FSBO)?
Honestly, this is a very valid question! The internet has provided access to a plethora of information that allows the average homeowner to market their home. FSBO advice companies and online listing tools such as Trulia, Zillow and Craigslist provide perfect access to some of the tools needed for success. What these companies do not provide is time, energy, contacts and real world know-how.
Recently I read "Why Sell For Sale By Owner" on a popular for sale by owner website. The web site listed several reasons to sell FSBO. Having been licensed since 2001, I have found that many homeowners do not fully understand how much work actually goes into both brining in a buyer who is willing to pay top dollar for their home and making sure that it successfully closes. I have listed my responses to each of the points indicated in the article in an effort to help dispell some of the myths about the FSBO process.
You don't have to leave the house when showing:
The purpose of leaving the house during showings is to allow the buyer space to process what they are seeing in your home. There are proven psychological benefits to the buyer when you are not present that actually make them more likely to purchase your home. They are able to relax and openly express their feelings in front of their Realtor. For example: a buyer who does not like the wood paneling on the walls may comment on it to their Realtor. As a seasoned professional I would recommend options for the client to either remove or lessen the appearance of the paneling and re-direct them to items that they like about the home. If the homeowner is not trained to handle challenging questions and direct conversations, the buyer may low ball the seller or not ever make it past the walls to see what they do like about the home.
You can know when people are coming:
When listing your home, you have the opportunity to define the showing instructions. I talk to my clients about their options, and the pros and cons of each, such as requiring appointments for all showings or request a 3 hour notice. The majority of agents will notify you in advance even without specific showing instructions but you have the power to be specific if need be. We can work together to define the the best strategy.
Your negotiation can be done in minutes:
Negotiation is a skill, an art form and yes, a special talent. Every person alive has the ability to purchase but not everyone has the ability to purchase for the best price. Every person has the ability to sell but not everyone has the ability to sell for the highest price. One of the primary principals of negation requires time. Two cowboys in a shootout rarely turn around and start shooting immediately; they stare at each other eye to eye and watch for a twitch or a sign.
You Can "Sell" Your Home Better Than Anyone Else:
Are you kidding me! One of two things will happen: 1) you love your home so much that every time you see the high gloss sunshine yellow paint in your child's room you see their smiling face. Therefore, it is obvious that your home is worth $10K more than market value 2) you hate the neighbor and your dog is buried in the back yard. You can't get out of the home fast enough and therefore your home is worth $10K below market value. When option one occurs your feelings become hurt because you don't understand why no one will see what you see in your home. When option two occurs the buyer can read the negative vibe that you portray and gives you a low ball offer or does not buy for fear of what is not being said.
You Are In Control:
It is true that you have the freedom to advertise where and how you want. However, there is a reason that the system is designed as it is. Agents know where to effectively market your home to maximize the number of buyers. Ultimately, you spend a great deal of time and money pursuing marketing avenues that will not attract the RIGHT buyer.
More Money In Your Pocket:
It is true, the concept of the total commission can be daunting. However, you only save the money if you negotiate the best possible price, sell it in a reasonable time frame (saving monthly mortgage payments) and don't advertise in the wrong places. Additionally, did you know that according to the National Association's Profile of Buyers and Sellers, the median selling price for sellers who sell on their own is $26,000 less than those properties that are listed?
As I said, I am certain that there are many people who are completely capable of selling their home on their own and if you are one of them I truly wish you the best of luck. However, make sure you honestly asses your personal negotiation skills, personal attachment to your home, and pricing strategy. If you decide that it may be more than you want to deal with, call me and we can sit down and talk about the best strategy to get your home sold at top dollar!