When you’re preparing to sell your house, sticking a “For Sale by Owner” sign in the yard and going at it solo might be a tempting option. But seller beware: selling a house without a realtor can be a big mistake. Sure, you might save that precious 6% commission in the short term, but if your home doesn’t sell at all, you won’t see a penny. Even worse, when you sell your house without an experienced realtor in your corner, you put yourself at risk for being given the bad end of the deal or even sued. If we haven’t convinced you yet, here are the top reasons you should never sell your house without a realtor.
You’ll likely be facing off against a buyer’s agent.
Even though you’ve decided to handle your own real estate, the buyers haven’t. Savvy home buyers will almost always employ a buyer’s agent who can help them pinpoint the best deals, analyze where a home sits on the market, and identify a potential home’s weaknesses. When it’s time for the final negotiations, you’ll be heading up against a buyer’s agent who has years of industry experience. When you consider that the agent has sold hundreds of houses, and you haven’t sold one, it’s easy to see who will win the negotiation. You may end up receiving hundreds or thousands less than what your home is truly worth—and that 6% you saved by forgoing a realtor won’t be much consolation.
Buyer’s agents don’t like to show For Sale by Owner houses.
Facing off against a buyer’s agent during the final negotiations is daunting, but most buyer’s agents won’t show a For Sale by Owner house to their clients in the first place. Since they won’t be reaping any commission for their services, as they ordinarily would, they have no incentive to show your home to their clients when other houses on the block will pay them for doing so. Additionally, For Sale by Owner sellers have a bad reputation within the industry, and can be viewed as unreasonable, unrealistic, and difficult. From an agent’s perspective, it’s much easier to skip the possibility of drama and only cooperate with other realtors, who are more likely to be professional and unemotional during the selling process.
…And you will be emotional.
You’ve loved and made memories in your home for a long time. Are you ready to deal with it being rejected time and time again by potential buyers? Are you ready to hear the negative comments from buyers and even agents about your home’s quality? Moreover, will you be able to handle negotiations calmly with the threat of a deadline looming over you? Even if you are a naturally calm person, selling a house is such an emotionally charged process that keeping emotions out of the sale is almost impossible for a normal human. And when emotions are involved, you might make rookie mistakes, like refusing to counter a low offer or giving in too easily. A realtor is able to remain removed from the process so that all decisions are logical and rational.
You have a job, and it’s not selling houses.
Selling a house is a full-time commitment. It’s not feasible to rush home from work every time a buyer wants to see your home, rapidly clean the house to perfection, and greet them with a smile while your boss wonders how long this is going to continue. Then there’s the fact that at the end of a long workday, you probably barely have enough energy to make dinner, let alone take advantage of every opportunity to market your home. An agent is able to devote the full amount of time necessary to sell a house so that you never have to rush out of a meeting to answer a phone call from a prospective buyer.
You can’t see what’s wrong with your home
Every home, no matter how beloved, has flaws. Since you live in your home every day, you’re accustomed to them and may be oblivious to what might stick out to buyers as giant red flags. A real estate agent is an expert on what makes a house sell and will be able to walk through your home with you and point out necessary changes in a helpful, informed way. If your house isn’t selling, an agent will be able to offer an industry perspective as to why. A real estate agent’s professional eye can more accurately identify issues and guide you to make improvements.
If you’re not careful, you could get sued
If you fail to disclose a hazard, nuisance, or defect in your home, and a buyer discovers it after they move it, they will be able to sue you. Since real estate agents also are responsible for disclosing information about property values, they are very familiar with disclosure laws and are trained to safely navigate the murky waters of real estate law. So much paperwork is involved in selling a home that it’s unwise to tackle it alone. A real estate agent will be able to sell the property without placing anyone at legal risk.