Are you thinking of a move? Are you also thinking that perhaps you should try selling your current home privately? After all, how hard can it be to stick a sign on the lawn, right? Plus no real estate agent means no paying their commission! Well, let me tell you why attempting to sell your home privately can be your biggest mistake, and a costly one at that!!
Gone are the days of people searching for homes in the newspaper. Sure you can still call in and place an ad in the Classifieds, which will cost you a somewhat minimal fee, but will anyone even read it? Think about it...when you bought the house did you find it by flipping to the back of your local paper? There is a reason why real estate agents use things like the MLS system and real estate boards like OMDREB and Stratus. When an agent lists a property to any one of these sites it's instantly accessible to tens of thousands of people everywhere, not just the three local Grandpa's who still read the newspaper cover to cover. An agent will include everything your potential buyer wants to know, room dimensions, what's included, what's excluded, add multiple pictures etc. Try doing that yourself in your local paper and not only will no one actually be reading your ad but you've now incurred the cost of a full page.
So maybe you decide to forgo the newspaper ad and just stick the sign on your lawn instead. Yes, people will see it....tens of people who drive down your street each week will see it, and guess what? They love your house, and your neighborhood....because they already live there!! As a rule people don't drive around town aimlessly just hoping to come across a House For Sale sign on your lawn. Again this is where an agent comes in handy. Agents will not only have your home on multiple real estate boards and on their personal websites and nowadays even their Facebook pages and Instagram accounts but we also have something in the industry called an email drip. This doesn't mean that we are going to email the whole universe your listing, but it does mean that all agents who have buyers who are actively looking to buy homes at that time will email out daily a list of all actively for sale properties, thus directly targeting the people you are hoping will just randomly drive past your homemade lawn sign.
Here's something else to consider about your your lovely House For Sale sign on your lawn....it is basically an open invitation for people to knock on your door at any time and ask to see your place. I don't now about y'all but my house is NOT ready for showing 24/7. With an agent all showings and visits will be booked through the brokerage thereby ensuring you a little notice to clean up those bathrooms and hide the laundry under the bed. There is also the added bonus that the home viewers will be accompanied by their agent, offering you not only the piece of mind that strangers aren't running amuck in your home but also, it means that you don't have to be the one doing the showings and listening to their sometimes "too honest" comments about your house. Sometimes separation is a good thing as we all think that our homes are gorgeous and why would anyone ever want to change that lime green bathroom wall color, right?
Some of us are born sales people, some of us aren't. When you're talking about selling what is undoubtedly your priciest possession wouldn't it be best to have a respected, professional salesperson on your side? Someone who can easily answer any questions a potential buyer may have, like what have other homes in the area sold for? What about schools in the area? Property values in the neighborhood, rising or falling? What is a home survey and how do I get one? Unless you've spent copious amounts of time researching every potential question a buyer may have I guarantee something will come up that stumps you, but that an agent can easily answer. It is their job to know these things and to help use their knowledge to sell your home. Sounds smart to me!
If you've followed my blogs from the beginning you know I tend to write from experience so here it is....confession time! Two houses ago my ex husband and I tried to sell privately. We got out the bristol board and Sharpies and made ourselves a splashy sign for the front lawn, we made our own little feature sheets to hand out (which cost a fortune btw) and being somewhat of a techie guy my ex even created us our own website so people could find our house online. Oh how naive we were! Keep in mind that when we did this years ago Milton was just starting to grow so we actually did have a fair amount of traffic combing our neighborhoods checking things out. So out went our sign and we waited to easily sell it to the first person who knocked on our door and to happily cash that cheque that was a bit bigger because we weren't paying an agent. Oh how naive we were! People came to our door at crazy hours. Never the convenient times when I had just finished cleaning the house top to bottom. No, they came right after my son colored on the walls, or my dog threw up in the kitchen. They came during dinner, during bath time, during nap time was a favorite too. Not only did they come to the door but they viewed our little sign as an open invitation to not just inquire but to come on in and see the place right then and there. This went on for weeks......because what happens when you put a FSBO (industry lingo for For Sale By Owner) sign on your lawn is that anyone and everyone who drives by who has a curious bone in their body is going to want to come on in and take a look. I'm fairly certain that my neighbors all had copies of my decor style as they viewed our For Sale sign as a "come see my pretty house so you can copy it" sign. 99% of those people who insisted on coming right on in weren't event looking for a home to buy, they were just nosey. Oh how naive we were! Had we had an agent that never would have happened. Alas, we were sooooo naive! Weeks went by and yes people came to see the house but not a single offer came in. When we finally decided that we were wrong and that we were not saving money but costing ourselves money because of wasted time and effort and that we need to hire a professional to help us it was like a wave of relief hit me. Up went the professional signage, our house was immediately listed on MLS and interested buyers were directly receiving the listing from our agent for our great little house. We sold in less than a week!
So what did I learn from that?? Well I learned that saving money isn't everything, that sometimes we hire a professional because they truly are the best person for the job. So many countless hours could have been saved had we just gone with an agent in the first place. Of course, now I have the perfect agents to use the next time I sell a house ;)