Buying or Selling?  The For Sale By Owner and Doing it alone  –  By Deborah Lubell

Marketing your home online as a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) isn’t as easy as you think.  Buyers typically start online, but there are many major home websites that are not even linked to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Therefore, Sellers are unlikely to get the advertising exposure they need to reach their audience. You may have picked the right price for your home, but without the proper exposure that a real estate agent provides, your home simply may get overlooked, or sell for less than it should have.

Using an agent automatically offers widespread exposure for your home through the Multiple Listing Service.  Your agent will then be able to promote your home to other agents to share with their clients which is not possible at any cost for a FSBO. 

Real estate is local in nature, so whether you are buying or selling, you need an agent who knows “how to get around town.”  There is no substitute for on-hands marketing from an experienced, knowledgeable, and well-connected agent.

In our current market, if a home is not selling, there is a problem.  There are several reasons as to why this is the case, but typically an inexperienced home seller will often over-price their home “keeping up with the Jones’” who sold their house for a similar price down the road.  A novice home seller is unlikely to view their home objectively or how to present it to appeal to the broadest audience.  Plus, when a home lingers on the market for an extended period of time, buyers may think that there is something wrong.  The home is often under-valued and money is lost for the seller.  The goal is to price your home in the “Goldilocks Zone” – not too high, turning off potential buyers, and not too low, leaving money on the closing table.

An experienced and well-informed agent will use comparative market analysis (CMA) which is similar to what a licensed appraiser will use to provide objective home value.  But without a savvy agent working on your behalf to do a proper analysis of the home market, you will lose that money on closing day.

A good real estate agent will take the stress off your shoulders in selling or buying your home.  She will advocate for you every step of the way.  She knows the “ins and outs” of making a good transaction, and as an experienced agent, she will negotiate and work through all the challenges, advocating always in your best interest.  Unless you have a background in contracts or law, you should think about leaving the paperwork to the pros.  Moving from negotiating the sale, to contract to the closing table will involve pages of complicated documents, including contracts, addendums, all designed to cover every situation that could go wrong that your savvy agent is familiar with.  Your agent will cover all property disclosures and corresponding documentation to avoid future liability.  If the seller does not use an agent and does not know every law and required document specific for their home, community and state, they open themselves up to lawsuits.  Your experienced agent will take all that from you helping the process to run as smoothly and effortlessly as possible, and she will negotiate on your behalf to get you the best price and terms.

Selling or buying a home is personal.  It is not just a business transaction.  It is people helping people.  Most everyone is trying to build a life inside a home.  A good agent will try to find a place that balances your income with the way you want to live.  She learns about your likes and dislikes.  Instead of looking to your monitor, go to someone who is an expert at monitoring the real estate market in your local area.