As a professional real estate broker, I’m willing to admit that I’m biased when it comes to cutting out the middle man in real estate transactions. I’ll start by saying that I agree with anyone who thinks that a real estate agent who hasn’t earned a commission doesn’t deserve a commission, because paying someone to do little or nothing doesn’t make any sense at all.
That’s why the trick to picking a real estate agent is to work with someone who works for their pay.
Here’s the thing: I could not present a list of 3 reasons why going For Sale by Owner is the best way to go, even if I thought it was true. The truth is, there is only one reason not to work with a real estate professional, and that you want to avoid paying them. That way, the theory goes, you get to keep the money you would have paid for his services. This implies that those services were without value or easily performed by someone with no experience or expertise in the real estate business.
While it’s always a little insulting to hear this argument, it does make me laugh a bit. Why is that you ask?
Here’s my list of 3 reasons why going For Sale by Owner is a sign of something other than shrewdness:
1. PRICE IS NOT ARBITRARY.
If the price that a house sold for was entirely a matter of market conditions, then you could confidently place a price tag on your home and sell it to the first person who wanted it. Of course, that’s not how it works at all. In real estate, price is completely a matter of opinion. It’s what the buyer is willing to spend, as affected by market conditions and a number of other factors. What this means is that a good real estate agent will be able to influence the mindset of the buyer to maximize the offer. What are the factors that drive offers up? They’re different with every house, which is where the expertise comes in. The fact is, there is no “one way” to sell a home.
2. THE MARKET IS COMPETITIVE.
For every viewing your house gets, the buyers will have seen dozens more. In each case, they’re comparing every detail of all the places on their lists and trying to decide which house will be right for them. You see, your house is competing with every house with similar features that’s currently available in the same market. If you can get from being one of the many choices available to any single buyer, to being the preferred choice for a group of motivated buyers, your selling price will go up. That’s why it pays to know what kind of details attract the right kind of attention, and what you can do to inspire competitive bids. In my experience, most homeowners need considerable help and advice to properly prep their places for sale.
3. NEGOTIATION IS AN ART.
However confident you may feel about sitting down with a buyer and hammering out an agreement, there’s a lot to be said for knowing the ins and outs of the real estate business. As a working professional, I have access to a network of people who’s services can be applied to negotiated conditions, whether it be legal details, inspections or required work. Sometimes it makes more sense to accept a lower offer that’s immediate and secure, than one where the conditions may place the agreement in jeopardy. Other times it’s possible to make certain demands. The point is, knowing what to negotiate for and how is a matter of experience.