One effect of the real estate boom, especially in recent years, is that more homeowners have attempted to sell their homes without the help of a real estate agent. For some, the process worked out. The home sold quickly, and the money which normally would have gone toward an agent's commission was pocketed by the seller. For many sellers, however, it didn't go so well. Either the sale took longer than anticipated, or the final selling price was significantly lower than the initial asking price. In some cases, sellers encountered both difficulties.
Paying commission on the money made from selling your home may not seem appealing but just ask the homeowners who had negative experiences doing it themselves. They will most likely tell you that agent commissions are worth every penny.
Examining the Numbers
At the height of the market, and in some regions still today, homeowners will receive multiple offers within the first 24 hours of listing their home. Other markets are a completely different story. There's greater supply, slightly less demand, and it takes a lot more effort to sell a home. Overall, most homeowners use a real estate professional to help sell their home; and they do so for some very good reasons.
For starters, let's examine a very important statistic. Nationally, on average, homes represented by real estate agents sell for 16% more than homes which are sold by their owners. If the agent's commission is between 5-6% of the sale, the average seller still makes 10% more than they would on their own.
If you're thinking of selling your home and find yourself on the white picket fence about whether to hire an agent, here are a few more things you should consider.
Setting the Sales Price
A real estate agent will be able to help you set a sales price. Qualified agents are experienced with selling homes in your area and understand what pricing strategies work best. Some areas require a "Goldilocks" pricing strategy. This is one where the price is not too high, so it attracts attention; and it's not too low, in order to allow room for negotiation. In other areas, the pricing strategy may be to offer a low price and allow potential buyers to bid it up. A good real estate agent's experience in this area could prove to be very valuable.
In order to sell your house quickly and for the most money, its appearance needs to be in order. After living in your home for several years, surrounded by your cherished possessions, it's hard to be objective about which ones are "too much" or may take away from its appearance. Having an experienced agent with a critical eye look through your house and make suggestions regarding repairs, furniture layout, and decorating can add thousands of dollars to the sale price.
To learn more about staging and obtain a quick estimate of what it will cost to get your home in selling condition, visit Remodel or Move. This website contains a free calculator as well as several other great money-saving tips.
A good real estate agent has experience with and access to several valuable marketing tools. These include the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), print advertisements in newspapers and magazines, Internet listings, and a network of other real estate agents. You have access to most of these marketing tools as well; but it's the agent who has the expertise regarding how and when to use them, as well as the resources to quickly put them into effect.
In order to maximize the sale price and profit from your home, it's important to act more like an impartial negotiator than a proud homeowner. An experienced real estate agent does just that by serving as a buffer between you and the buyer or the buyer's agent. A successful real estate agent also has negotiating skills. Most homeowners do not. These skills could result in a higher sale price for your home.
Once you've accepted an offer, the work of selling your home does not end. There are inspections to manage, financing to arrange, paperwork to complete, and numerous deadlines to meet. Often, the inspections will result in questions and new requests from the buyers. A good negotiator can manage the requests and minimize the cost to the seller, ensuring the closing of the sale of your home.
Contractual deadlines dictate when everything has to be completed. This includes acceptance of the contract, mortgage approval of the buyer, inspection periods, and title commitments just to name a few. If any of these important deadlines are not met, you may be out of contract and not close.
How to Select a Real Estate Agent
Now that we've established why a real estate agent is a valuable ally, let's examine how to go about choosing one that's right for you. When considering agents, you will want to inquire about their training, professional certification, and experience. You'll also want to be sure that the agent is knowledgeable about your specific region.
One of the best ways to find a good agent is to ask someone you trust for a referral. Your mortgage professional is a perfect place to begin because they have extensive experience with the agents in your area. They will be able to put you in touch with an agent who will do a great job for you.
Selling a home is an important undertaking. By placing your trust in qualified professionals, not only will you maximize profits, you'll also have a wonderful experience.
About the Author:
Dan Fritschen is the award-winning author of Remodel or Move? Make the Right Decision. He is also the founder of Remodel or Move, a homeowner advocacy organization.