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Should I get a realtor? Info on selling a house yourself and with a realtor

October 30th, 2013 - 4:04 PM

Should I use a realtor? Selling a house yourself vs. using a realtor

When you’re ready to sell your home and move, one of the first things on your to-do list is deciding should I get a realtor, or should I try to sell it myself. It’s a common dilemma.

There’s definitely a cost savings in selling it yourself, but do you have the time and expertise it takes to get it done quickly?


Should I hire a realtor?

Taking a look at what goes in to both types of selling can help you make the decision.

For Sale By Owner. Selling Your House Yourself

In 2012, only 9% of homes sold in the US were sold by owner. While obviously not the most popular option, a lot of people do choose to sell their own homes (FSBO) for a variety of reasons—primarily to save money (according to experts, you can save thousands by not paying a 6% or 7% commission. But, the primary reason people decide against it is the work involved. Here’s what you can expect if you decide to do it yourself.

  • Stage your home for selling. This involves decluttering and depersonalizing to make it appealing to potential buyers.
  • Photograph your home, inside and out. You’ll need to pay attention to the lighting and composition of photos to best showcase your home. Check out this article on MSN Real Estate about how to get the best shots of your home.
  • Price your home. This is one of the most important things you’ll do. You can do market research on sites like Zillow.com to see what homes in your area are selling for. You should be able to price your home more aggressively since you won’t have to worry about paying commissions. You may also want to contact a home appraiser in your area for help.
  • List your home. You can use sites like forsalebyowner.com and fsbo.com, along with classifieds (both online and newspaper). Many sites will charge you to list your home, so be prepared for that extra cost.
  • Once your home is listed, you can market it by continuing to post it online, putting signs out with information sheets, and hosting open houses.
  • As potential buyers find your home, you will have to show it.
  • When someone makes an offer, there may be financial paperwork to fill out, along with negotiating terms of the sale. Though it’s an additional expense, you may want to consider getting a real estate lawyer to help you with offers, act as an escrow agent for the down payment, review contracts, and handle closing. They can also tell you the things you are required to disclose by law (you may also be able to get these services through a title company).

As you can see going the FSBO route comes with challenges—it takes a lot of time and a lot of patients, but it’s definitely a doable option.

Selling a House with a Realtor

If you aren’t sure whether you should use a realtor, consider this: In 2012, FSBO homes sold on average for $174,900, while agent-assisted home sales brought in $215,000 on average. While hiring a realtor means paying out commissions, if they’re able to get more out of your home, it may just even out in the end (and save you the headache). There are definite perks to using a realtor.

  • A real estate agent knows the local market and can help you price your home competitively.
  • An agent also knows the buying/selling process, so they can walk you through each step, taking care of things so that you don’t have to (like showing your home and hosting open houses).
  • Perhaps the biggest perk of using an agent is their marketing and promotion efforts. Because realtors don’t get paid until your home sells, they work hard to promote your home.

If you think you’ll be strapped for time (or busy preparing for a long-distance move), then hiring an agent may be the best option for you.

For more resources, check out these helpful links.

More information on For Sale by Owner Sales
Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Own Home
Selling Your Home on Your Own
7 Things to Consider Before Selling Your Own Home
How to Sell Your Own Home

More information on using a Realtor
How to Choose a Realtor
Why Use a Realtor when Selling
10 Questions You Should Ask Your Realtor
How to Choose a Listing Agent