The “For sale by owner” maverick!
The maverick spirit runs deep in Texas. This is what tempts a seller to sell his home on his own. Why use a Realtor? Why pay the commission? I can do this on my own….really???? I’m not trying to be glib. There are those who can actually sell their own home without a Realtor but that is not easy, not easy at all. The first thing a FSBO (for sale by owner) type needs to realize is they are only saving 3% on the commission. If you want a buyer’s Realtor to show your home you must offer them the standard rate of 3%, else no telephone calls for showings. The average seller also has no access to the MLS (Multiple Listings Service). MLS is perhaps the most powerful tool a Realtor uses. The MLS gives the Realtor access to homes for sale, for lease or homes sold. Every Realtor searches the MLS for the homes they will show their buyer.
The internet is also a great tool. The common FSBO will usually get on one or two of the most popular real estate websites like Trulia or Zillow but there are many other opportunities on the web then just those two sites. Many of the major Real Estate brokerages such as Prudential, Century 21, Ebby Holiday and others have access to many more websites plus with reciprocity agreements, properties listed with one broker not only appear on their own website but on the competition’s website, increasing exposure. When selling a property both price and exposure are the two most important aspects. Not only is the FSBO at a big disadvantage when it comes to advertising but does the seller have enough time in the day to stop what they are doing to show a home. Buyers want to look at homes when they want to look at homes and that might not fit your schedule. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to crush the maverick spirit but the seller should know what he is up against. Add in services such as professional photography, home staging plus experience with negotiations and contracts makes a Realtor hard to beat. The 3% savings can easily be made up with the increased sales price a Realtor can get for you.
The price of your home is another major factor. Owners have a hard time pricing their own homes because they are too close. What I mean is the difficulty for them to perceive their home from an objective point of view. The home might be their very first home they purchased after marriage, maybe they raised their children in the home. This is the home they lived in for most of their life, of course it must be worth $350,000. Unfortunately the market does not see your home the same way. Market value is market value and the buyer has seen many houses before they get to your home and they are aware of the market value. A Realtor can do a comprehensive market analysis to give you an accurate price. I know it is heart breaking to find the home you value at $350,000 is only worth $250,000 but would you rather sell the home or watch it linger for sale with few showings?
So next time you think you should sell your home on your own, think it over for a while. Possibly you are the maverick who can sell on your own, but let me tell you, there is no shame in seeking help.