Selling Without an Agent
FSBO: Do you really need a real estate agent to sell your home?
How hard can it be? Denver is still a pretty hot market and if you’ve got a great house in a great location, you may be tempted to go it alone. If you’ve been through the home selling process a few times, you may be thinking you’ve got this. Well, pretty sure that you’ve got this. You can look it up online. Or can you? Here are just a few of the risks that you face when you try to go it alone:
You don’t know what you don’t know. Your real estate agent spends countless hours reading, interpreting and negotiating contracts as well as completing a minimum of 24 hours of Continuing Education every 3 years. 2019 brought huge changes to the Colorado Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate with legal implications for buyers and sellers. As a seller, buyers will expect you to comply with contingencies, deadlines, FIRPTA (what the heck is that?!?), HOA and Due Diligence documentation, inspection objections, lead-based paint disclosures (Wait, what? I thought we got rid of lead-based paint!), and so much more. Your real estate agent’s knowledge is invaluable.
Buyer’s Eyes. Are you able to look at your home objectively? Decluttered and staged homes sell for more and more quickly. Your agent has a list of vendors who can quickly and reasonably help you get your home picture perfect. Are you debating if updating the carpet, paint and fixtures will bring you big bang for your buck? A real estate agent knows what sells in your neighborhood and what will cause your home to sit on the market.
Maximum Exposure. Just how do sellers reach buyers? A strong online presence is imperative to getting as many eyes on your property as possible: MLS, social media campaigns, custom property websites and the ability to reach thousands of Metro Area agents instantly. And don’t forget that professionally designed print media hits all the right notes at every price point. Your real estate agent is an extraordinary marketing director!
Build it and they will come. Through research or perhaps based on the neighborhood’s highest sale, you’ve decided on a list price, figured out a way to get online (with professional photos, yes?) and there’s a sign in the yard. Buyers will be begging you to accept their offers! Before you receive an offer, however, a potential buyer will want to actually see your home. How will you handle showings? Will you limit showing hours to evenings and weekends (and miss that out of town buyer on a tight schedule) or will you rush home from work? And then there are the no-shows or the ones who are apologetic, but nevertheless, late. Maybe you’ll put a lock box on the front door, but with no way to confirm that a licensed agent is the one showing your home. Selling a home is a full time job and you probably already have one of those. Real estate agents are logistical wizards and realize how valuable your time is. Not to mention your safety.
Everything is negotiable. You’ve received an offer! Now what? Most sellers are interested in only one thing: price. And rightly so as this is likely your biggest asset and any decision made will affect your investment. A real estate agent is skilled at not letting the negotiations get down to just one item (price) because they do not want to create one winner and one loser. We want both sides to feel like winners. Happy parties stay with the transaction. Unhappy parties walk away. Terms, conditions, contingencies, concessions, deadlines, appraisals, inspections, title, possession, are all negotiable items that can affect your bottom line. This is where what sellers don’t know can hurt them the most.
To fix or not to fix. This is tricky, even for experienced real estate agents! Buyers want to know the condition of the home beyond what they can see and they will hire inspectors to give them peace of mind that they are buying a solid home. These inspections include the interior, HVAC, roof, structure, plumbing, sewer, stucco, radon, and more. The buyer receives a detailed report about the condition of the home and the inspector identifies items for repair, replacement or monitoring. And the negotiations begin. Again. What kinds of repairs are typically completed by sellers? What’s reasonable? What exactly does health and safety mean? If you’re not careful, you could be persuaded into making improvements rather than repairs. Do you have a list of trusted and reliable workers that can come out on a moment’s notice to make repairs before the deadline? Your real estate agent does.
Keeping the ball rolling. Otherwise known as Transaction Management. Once you are under contract, buyers will expect to receive a Title Commitment, disclosures, due diligence documents and perhaps a survey or ILC. And it doesn’t stop there. Did you know that sellers are now required to provide buyers with extensive information about their HOA? This includes the Annual Disclosure, financials, meeting minutes, insurance and liability policies, fees, the Status Letter and so much more! Each one of these items corresponds to deadlines in the contract. Miss one, and the buyer may be able to terminate the contract. And what happens if the property does not appraise for the sales price? Is the buyer meeting all of their deadlines? Who’s handling the closing? Your real estate agent expertly manages your transaction and is on high alert for anything that could potentially jeopardize the transfer of your property to the buyer. A successful closing is what we are all after.
Maybe you’re still hopeful that you have the skill, time and determination to sell your home without assistance. But first, do me a favor and take a look at the FSBO websites and scroll through the long list of frequently asked questions. Read this blog again. The selling process is fast-paced and the contract is 19 pages long (!), not to mention the addendums, amendments and resolutions. Missteps can lead to costly mistakes which could end up costing you more money than if you had hired a real estate agent to protect your interests from the start.
Guiding my clients through what may be the biggest financial decisions of their lives is an honor and a responsibility I take very seriously. It can be exciting, nerve-wracking and emotional, all at the same time. And when you find yourself in a challenging situation, it can really pay to have a professional on your side. As your agent, it’s my job and pleasure to be on your side!
Christine Trigg, Realtor® SRES ®©2019