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Thinking of Going it Alone?

It ís already March and Spring is just around the corner. Time to think about getting your house on the market. You may be thinking of trying to sell it yourself to save some money. How hard can it be, right? Here are some things to consider before you stick that For Sale By Owner sign in your yard.

The most difficult part of the process is pricing your home correctly in todayís market. Price it too high and it will sit on the market for months. Price it too low and you are potentially leaving money on the table. Most homeowners have an emotional attachment to their home, which is natural, but it can make it very difficult to establish the correct asking price. A local Realtor is an expert in our current market and has access to both current and sold listings to use in correctly pricing your home. They are a neutral party and can look at your home with an objective eye. Homeowners tend to base their asking price on emotions rather than actual market data. The National Association of Realtors statistics show that homes sold with the aid of a Realtor actually sold for 19% more on average than those sold by owners.

Trying to decide what to do to get your home market ready can also be difficult. You think your home is perfect just the way it is. You did all the decorating and you love your lime green bathroom and your completely wall papered kitchen. You may be lucky enough to find a buyer that shares your enthusiasm but in todayís market most buyers want a neutral color scheme that they can just move right in to. If a buyer needs to do a lot of up-dating and re-decorating, they will subtract their perceived costs from your asking price. A $20 can of paint can add sometimes add $1000 worth of value to your home. A Realtor knows what buyers are looking for and can help you decide what, if anything, you should do before you put your home on the market. Putting in a new $20,000 kitchen may be a huge mistake if you canít recoup any of that money on the sale.

Selling a home isnít like selling a car. There is a lot of paperwork involved in a home sale and most homeowners donít have any idea what they need to do if they find a buyer. You have to have the buyer sign a contract that covers all the elements of the transaction. There are also legally required disclosures that you must give a potential buyer and For Sale By Owner transactions are not exempt. How will you advertise to find a buyer? At least 90% of potential buyers use the internet for their home search, only 28% use newspaper ads to find their home. Advertising is expensive and most home owners donít even know where they should be advertising. Realtors have marketing plans they use to promote your home and attract potential buyers. The cost of their marketing is most often included in their commission, so you donít have any out of pocket costs before your home sells. Realtors also belong to the local multiple listing service which means the homes they have listed are shared with every other area Realtor that may have a buyer.
Buyers are sometimes put off when they are looking at a home and the owner is present. They donít feel comfortable looking in closets and asking questions that may offend the owner. Realtors show your home for you and can run interference between the buyer and seller. What do you know about financing options available to buyers? Can you educate a potential buyer about the types of loan programs and grant options that may be available? Are you comfortable asking about a buyerís financial position and are they comfortable sharing that with you? What if they want a home inspection? Or a radon inspection? Would you know who to call? What if the potential buyer for your home already has a home to sell? Would you know how to structure that kind of agreement? What about title work? Who prepares the deed? What is a closing and where do I do that? Realtors are professionals and deal with lenders and inspectors everyday. They are knowledgeable in financing options and can help direct potential buyers to lenders that can get them approved for a mortgage. They know which inspectors to use and who to call if you need a radon mitigation system put in your home. They know what needs to be done to get you to closing and all the coordination that needs to happen.

Negotiations can get heated and it is much more difficult when the buyer and seller are negotiating directly with each other. Tempers and emotions can quickly derail a sale and Realtors are experts in navigating the pitfalls. Statistics show that 89% of buyers purchased their home with the use of a Realtor. The percentage of homes sold as For Sale by Owners has decreased from 19% to 9% in the last 20 years. Now that you know a little more about the process, I hope you will agree that it pays to hire a professional to sell your home. Realtors do much more than plant a sign in your yard and collect a commission check. They work very hard to market and sell your home with no compensation until it has closed. Homes that are sold with the use of Realtor sell faster and for more money, on average, than those sold without a Realtor. After you factor in the cost of the Realtorís commission, you still come out ahead ( and much less stressed) if you use a professional.

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