Selling a home is a complicated process. Even if the housing market is on the way up, there are many questions buyers frequently have:
Do I need a Realtor(R)?
How much paperwork am I going to have to fill out?
What does “closing” mean?
How do I know I’m getting the best price for my home?
How am I suppose to sell my house and buy a new one at the same time?
Through this article we will discuss the first question in detail: do I really need a Realtor(R)? Hopefully by the end you will gain the knowledge you need to make a good decision! Before we dig in, let’s discuss some of the basics.
Knowing the value of your home is essential. Getting your home appraised is the first step. After that you may want to consider a home inspection to avoid complications during your sale. If your inspection uncovers problems, you need to familiarize yourself with your state’s disclosure laws to avoid future issues. Generally you have to disclose the presence of any hazardous materials in the house or any significant issues with construction. Do your homework and make sure you are following all disclosure laws.
Another basic factor to consider when selling your home is whether or not you’re in the market to purchase a new home. It’s not ideal to have your home on the market for a long period of time but you want it on long enough so you have time to sell before you purchase a new home. It’s not fun to be paying on two mortgages at once. If you do end up finding a home you can’t wait to buy before your current home sells, you can ask for a bridge loan. This is a special type of loan that allows you to pay the down payment on a new home if you have enough equity in your current home. Talk to your lender for more details. Now it’s time to dig further into the first frequently asked question:
Do I need a Realtor(R)? The short answer is, probably. Although many people find success with selling their home via the internet, almost 95% of homes today still sell with a Realtor(R). There are many factors why hiring a real estate agent can be very helpful. Let’s talk about them.
- It saves YOU time and energy. Let the Realtor(R) deal with the paperwork and the phone calls. These will only cut into your work hours and your weekends.
- They have the experience. A good Realtor(R) will understand the process inside and out.
- Screening offers. Your Realtor(R) can help you decide which offers, if serious, to consider.
- Knowing the market. The “market” is a loose term basically meaning what houses are selling for now-a-days. Your Realtor(R) will understand housing trends and help you get the most profit.
- Contacts. Your agent should have professional contacts with other Realtors(R), inspectors, and contractors that can most likely aid with any issue that may come about.
- Selling price. Sometimes buyers will offer less money to a seller who is not using an agent because they assume they are not paying commission, therefore can afford to go down in price.
A useful tool for real estate agents is the Multiple Listing Service, or the MLS. It’s an online database that agents can subscribe to and find almost all properties for sale across the country. Buyers can also access this database at realtor.com; however, they usually cannot list their home online through the site.
Now that we’ve considered the pros of having a Realtor(R), let’s discuss the cons. The most common reason people choose to not use an agent is the cost. Commissions for having a Realtor(R) will typically come out of the sellers proceeds at closing.
Another hesitation to hiring a Realtor(R) is allowing yourself to trust someone with something so valuable. Working closely with an agent requires a great deal of trust and communication.
If you do decide to go with a Realtor(R), you still have options. You can chose a full-service agent or a discount-service agent. A full-service agent literally does it all. They help you prepare your home, run open houses, use the MLS database, even hires professional photographers to take pictures of your home. The latter, a discount-service agent, definitely provides less. The exact services depend on the company itself. Remember, you always get what you pay for so before determining which type of Realtor(R) to choose, decide how much work you’re willing to put in without the help of a professional.
Don’t forget, when choosing a Realtor(R)– interview them and get to know them. This is a choice that you shouldn’t take lightly – make sure you are comfortable with who you choose to help you through such a large transaction, and that can help you with the results you and your family need.