For Sale By Owner Vs. The Realtor | Here’s why you stick with us!
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Homeowners obviously know their homes better than anyone, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best salespersons for their properties. Some sellers are tempted to try a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) transaction because their local community is in the midst of a sellers’ market , as we are now in North Texas. They think they can sell easily without help. Others try the FSBO route because they want to maximize their profits and avoid paying a commission to a Realtor. However, statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $174,900, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $215,000, a difference of $40,100.
A growing number of homeowners agree. They have turned to sites like Zillow and ForSaleByOwner to help them navigate the process on their own. Such sites offer up information on things like comparable sales and neighborhood data, enabling sellers to price and market their homes better. Sellers can also post photos and descriptions online, reaching exponentially more house hunters than they would have in the past. Usually, about half the commission goes to the listing (or seller’s) agent and the brokerage they work for. These agents get paid to put the home on the Multiple Listing Service so agents who represent buyers see the home and bite. They also host open houses and help in negotiations. The other half of the commission goes to the buyer’s agent and their brokerage.
Five questions experts say homeowners should ask themselves before selling a home on their own.
Do I know the value of my home in today’s market?
Am I ready to work with a buyer’s agent?
Will I take charge of sales and marketing responsibilities?
Can I bear criticism of my home?
Am I willing to screen potential buyers?
1. Do I know the value of my home in today’s market? A common mistake FSBO sellers make is to price their home too high. As a result, the property languishes on the market. “When a home sits for a long while, buyers start to wonder what is wrong with it, “The best option is to come out of the gate priced right.” To market a home competitively, sellers should research the final sales price of similar properties in their community. Updated sales information is available to agents through proprietary reports, but individual owners can also dig up sales data from public sources, says Amy Bohutinsky, vice president of communications for Zillow.com, a Seattle-based online real estate service that provides data on homes. Online real estate sites may offer sales trend information for local neighborhoods, sales prices for comparable homes in the community, known as “comps,” and the average length of time homes have remained on the market, Bohutinsky says. Even if sellers think they’ve arrived at fair home values, potential buyers may still try to negotiate prices downward.
2. Ready to work with a buyer’s agent? In a typical real estate transaction, the listing agent represents the seller. But the buyer may choose an agent to represent his or her interests, too. When a real estate deal is made, the seller usually pays both agents involved a commission based on the sale price of the house. That commission is negotiable, but it has traditionally been about 6 percent of the purchase price, says Nichole. The buyer’s agent and seller’s agent generally split the commission in half. As a FSBO seller, you may decide not to use a listing agent, but you can’t control whether or not a potential buyer wants to use a buyer’s agent. If the buyer does use an agent, homeowners should consider offering that agent the typical commission, which would be about 3 percent of the sales price, says Leslie Tyler, vice president of marketing for ZipRealty, an Emeryville, Calif.-based realty company. Sellers who decide not to offer to pay the commission will probably shrink their pool of potential purchasers, because buyer’s agents would not have an incentive to show their clients the seller’s home.
3. Will I take charge marketing responsibilities? Some FSBO sellers underestimate the amount of effort it takes to market their home, Nichole says. Sellers should be prepared to keep the home clean, clutter-free and “show ready” at all times. Other steps sellers should take include: Take good photos of their property and write effective sales descriptions. Buy and install a “for sale” yard sign with promotional fliers that include contact information. List the property in multiple classified ads and real estate Web sites. Before paying any money to a third-party company, research to determine if it has been in business for a while, has a good reputation and has earned favorable reviews, Nichole says. In addition to marketing their own property, FSBO sellers often need to find and hire people to help them complete the sales process, Siegel says. These professionals include real estate attorneys (to review contracts and offer advice), appraisers and contractors (to make any necessary home repairs).
4. Can I bear criticism of my home? The emotional aspect of selling a home is often overlooked, but it’s an important part of the selling process, Tyler says. Owners will probably hear a lot about their home’s shortcomings from buyers trying to negotiate a lower sales price. Or worse, they may not receive any interest in their home, especially if the price is too high.
5. Am I willing to screen buyers? It may seem pushy, but FSBO sellers must be willing to screen their own buyers Before accepting an offer, ask for a current pre-approval letter from a reputable
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There is no denying it-this is probably the biggest seller's market we
"I had the pleasure of working with Becky for the sale of my first
condo. This was scary new territory for me as I had never been on the
selling side before. Becky was amazing at keeping me from totally
freaking out and making the process as painless as possible. Not only
was she prompt in getting me the documents I needed to sign, she made
sure I fully understood the purpose of each one. She kept me informed
at every step of the process, even when there was nothing new to
report. I also felt that Becky was 100% on my side and had only my
best interests in mind when negotiating the terms of the contract.
Not something I felt with the Realtor I used 7-years ago to buy the
place. Without a doubt, I would recommend Becky for your next