Will A Realtor Really Help Me Make Money On The Sale Of My Home?
Sure it may be tempting to forego hiring a realtor to help with the sale of your home, but if you knew how much a realtor could help you, you might change your tune.
Every year home sellers have to wrestle with the question of whether or not to hire a realtor to help sell their home. Some argue that it costs a lot, and to the casual observer, it is not obvious what realtors do to earn their fee. Others who have been through the home selling process, realize the pitfalls of going it alone all too well.
The big decision has been made – you are about to put your home on the market. Now for your next major decision: do you want to engage the services of a realtor or do you want to go it alone? It certainly is tempting to put your home up for sale as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO).
“Why hire a realtor and have to pay their fee when I can just do it myself?” you wonder.
“Will a realtor really help me make money on the sale of my home?” you ask.
Well, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Realtors undergo a tremendous amount of training before and after licensing exams. Add this to the countless hours of on-the-job experience they have, and you are looking at an expert, seasoned professional in home sales. Sometimes the driving force behind not hiring a realtor is rooted in simply not knowing what you don’t know. Realtors perform many critical services during the home selling process, and what seems easy and natural to the home seller, is actually a well-honed art.
Preparing Your Home
Getting your home ready to go on the market is the first step in selling your home. While many sellers know the basics (make sure your home is clean and inviting), they do not know what to do to bring in great offers. Realtors are experts at helping clients stage their homes for sale. They answer a myriad of questions including:
“Should I tear up the carpet in the living room?”
“Should I put in a fence?”
“Would it make sense to reface my kitchen cabinets?”
“Would I get a 100% or better return for redoing my baths?”
“Should I re-wallpaper or instead repaint?”
It takes an expert to tell you what things are a must do, a nice to do, and a definitely don’t do when selling your home. Realtors know what buyers in your neighborhood want, and are willing to pay a premium for. Realtors can save you time and money by making sure you only invest in those projects that will give you the greatest return on your investment. They also warn you against, and help you correct, serious buyer turn-offs
Setting Your Price
You love your home. You remember when you spent all weekend putting in a new staircase railing. Your home is the best…or is it? It is difficult for homeowners to be impartial judges in pricing their own homes.
“So what if I price my home too high?” you think.
You could lose tens of thousands of dollars, or more … that’s what!
If you price your home too high, you will not get the right buyers to visit your home; they will not want to be frustrated by looking beyond their price limit. The buyers you do get in, will be disappointed in what your home has to offer for the price. So, you receive no offers and your house sits on the market. Finally you decide to lower your price, but guess what … now you have a new problem. Your house has become stale on the market, having been sitting for too long. Any prospective buyers will take this information into account, and will most likely make a lower offer, since the property has been “sitting.” And if poor pricing causes you to miss your market’s active period, you will even be sent back more in terms of time and money.
On the other hand, a realtor will help you price your house just right for your current local market; it will sell faster, and at a better price. Pricing a home correctly is a true art, and it can save the seller thousands of dollars in the long run.
Marketing Your Home
Realtors are experts in creating effective marketing materials. Many realtors routinely use professional photographers to get great pictures of their clients’ homes, and know how to create an informative and compelling brochure about your residence. Realtors also have access to professional listing services and their own extensive network of neighborhood and relocation realtors. If a couple is planning on moving into your area, their relocation specialist will know about it; these buyers may be the perfect buyers for your home. You would never reach them otherwise, if you were working to sell your home on your own.
Realtors will be available to show your home, and even do open houses if you desire. Many sellers do not realize that they should not be home while prospective buyers are looking at their house. New buyers need to be able to visualize themselves living in the home, and it is next to impossible to do if there is a constant reminder (you!) that the home belongs to someone else. Also, buyers do not feel free to ask questions or express opinions if they are talking to the homeowner.
In addition, if your house is on the market for several months, are you really prepared to give up all your free weekend time? After all, you will need to be available when the buyers are out – and that is generally on weekends.
Realtors are expert negotiators at home sales. They know local home sales like the back of their hand and can easily present a case for your homes worth to help bring up the offer price. They know the best strategies for working with buyers, as well as working through the challenging but exciting situation of multiple offers.
Most home sellers do not realize how critical the home inspection period can be. If deficiencies in the house are found during the inspection, buyers can ask for their offering price to be reduced. It takes an experienced realtor to make sure that a seller does not unnecessarily lose money during this important phase in house selling. In fact, many realtors know that some buyers make offers counting on the fact that they will get money back during the home inspection period. Realtors work to prevent this situation early in the negotiating period. Should a problem arise, they will again expertly negotiate on your behalf.
Say No to FSBO!
So no, you do not need to hire a realtor and pay the agency fees. However, it is most likely that you will actually end up netting more money on the sale of your home if you have a knowledgeable realtor to guide you through the deceptively-simple process of selling your home.