Sometimes we jump to conclusions. For instance, many think they can save money by selling their home themselves. But, as they get into the process they quickly find out there is a lot more to it. While they are trying to live their normal life, prospective buyers and bargain scalpers keep interrupting.
From the start, a Realtor as a member of the local board can use our Multiple Listing Service to determine a pricing target. The Realtor takes into account recent homes sold and some he knows just recently were put under contract. He or she also knows, from working with buyers, what they are looking for. That’s important for the seller to know. Maybe a coat of paint, one or two fewer pieces of furniture, etc. Tips from your Realtor can turn a prospect into a buyer.
After pricing, there is a lot more that goes on. Realtors use their network of fellow Realtors to get the word out. This method of finding a buyer is more effective than just about any other way. Realtors use a number of means among themselves including e-mail, flyers, post cards, Realtor open houses, the MLS and many other creative ways.
Prospective buyers are pre-qualified before setting up an appointment to see a home. Without a Realtor the seller is prone to get unqualified prospects at odd times. They can stop by too early, just as you’re on your way out, just as dinner is set or just as it’s time for bed. Some prospects see homes for sale without a Realtor, like waving a red flag. They think that they can hood-wink or harass the seller into deep price reductions. Repeated visits to the home, numerous phone calls throughout the day can all mean a very disruptive and distasteful situation.
Where do you go to find a sales contract? Without a Realtor you’ll probably go to an attorney. Realtors use attorney-approved contracts. They also know what extra standard attorney-approved language is used to protect the seller. Without the Realtor, the seller will have to pay the attorney for all of that. The attorney doesn’t sell real estate as their main business, so they’re not as familiar with issues that might need to be addressed to protect the seller. The attorney hasn’t gone to your home to see what situations may or may not exist. Once you sell your home, you don’t want issues to haunt you after the closing. Using an attorney is encouraged, but it’s a lot different reviewing paperwork versus creating it from scratch.
The down payment from the prospect will go into an escrow account. These special bank accounts have specific terms that need to be followed. Without a Realtor you’ll be paying your attorney for this service also.
We’ve only covered the first couple of steps in the selling process. Did you know that the seller has to follow the same federal laws regarding housing and discrimination as Realtors do? Did you know they are also responsible for the same disclosures required by law? A seller might get a prospect starting down a forbidden discussion about the neighborhood or something else. This could be some heavy fines and more because you said the wrong things.