Today, when thinking of selling your home, there are a ton of options to you.  Cropping up lately are several companies who make claims that they will make it easy for you to do it yourself, but really how easy is it?

Most of these companies will charge the home seller a pretty steep fee, offering them an internet ad on the company FSBO site, a for sale lawn sign displaying the owners home phone number, and if your lucky, maybe an ad or two in a local paper. But unfortunately, that’s where their service ends. You’ll still have to have to take your own time to arrange viewings and showings (if you get any takers), you’ll have to meet the potential buyers face to face, limiting your negotiating power, you’ll still have to involve a lawyer, and because you will involve him earlier in the game (if you’re smart) you’ll pay additional fees, and if the buyers experience problems half-way through the deal, do you have access to an array of professionals and specialists to help get the deal done?   Did you know the local hardware store only charges about $5.00 for a for sale sign and you can advertise online for free? If you really think you’ve got what it takes to sell your home on your own, why in the world would you consider paying a company hundreds of dollars for a sign and a couple of ads?

We have a saying in real estate; “You can’t save the same commission twice“. At the moment there is a slanderous ad campaign running against us “Joe Blow Real Estate Agents” that claim you can pay yourself. In this era of the educated home buyer, do you really think they’re going to let you lay claim to the “thousands of dollars” you are saving by not using a real estate agent, or do you think they’re going to want their fair share of those savings? Right out of the gate you are exposing yourself to the proverbial lowball offer, because the buyers are going to know that you aren’t paying “Joe Blow”.  Add that to the fact that one particular ad is actually telling potential sellers to price their property lower than every comparable property to give themselves an edge, and I’ve personally heard the advise from one rep of the FSBO company to advertise the property at 5% less than agent endorsed properties (doesn’t this negate the fact that you’re saving on the commission?)

A real estate agent, right from the get go, is going to educate you to current market trends and a realistic pricing review of your property’s value. One of the surest ways to realize the most from the sale of your home is to price it right, right from the start. You can pay an appraiser a few hundred dollars for this, or you can enlist the services of a real estate agent, who in many cases, will not charge you if you are listing with them.

Your agent is also going to handle all calls and arranging all viewings on your home. They know the questions to ask to help you qualify potential purchasers, limiting the tire kickers. You won’t have to worry about taking time off work to arrange and then do showings yourself.

Your agent is going to handle negotiations on your behalf, ensuring offers to purchase are in writing, that conditions in the agreements are met, and if trouble rises halfway through your deal, your agent will have access to professionals and specialists that may well keep your deal together. Your lawyer, on the other hand, makes more money when you are fighting, and is paid by the hour. At this point in the game, your real estate agent hasn’t cost you a cent.

Your agent is going to stay with you after the deal is firm. They are going to assist you in getting ready for your closing day, and they aren’t going to charge you any extra for the sold sign they have installed at your property. If the buyers choose to back out now, your agent is on your side to keep the deal in place. If the buyers do walk with good reason, all this still hasn’t cost you a cent.  Can you say the same about other services?

Your agent is going to take care of all the advertising and web site development for your property. They are going to take care of all potential buyers, they are going to provide you with solid agreements of purchase and sale, all the necessary forms you require, and they are going to be able to refer you to all the specialists and professional services you will require in order to get your deal done. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons you might really want to consider working with a real estate agent is also the best… you will only pay your real estate agent if they sell your property.

The real estate commission is only paid upon the successful closing of a property, deducted from the proceeds of sale, and paid directly from your lawyer.  The industry is evolving, and services are expanding.  Just remember, you get what you pay for.  That has always been the case, and always will be.  When you look for a discount service, you will surely get just that.  A discounted service.

Do your research, and don’t buy into something simply because it sounds warm and fuzzy.  The Real Estate industry has come a long way in increasing both consumer awareness and confidence, and will continue to do so for as long as our services are required.

~Matt Johnston

  1. Jeff Bonner says:

    The funny thing is that people want to list on the MLS system as FSBOs.. as if the MLS system is any better than any other site speaking strictly from an advertising perspective.

    In my opinion, the real power of the MLS is that when you put your property in the MLS with an agent and an offer of commission, you then get a sales force consisting of all the agents in that local association working to sell your home (2000+ here in Hamilton!). But you only pay the ones who actually succeed in selling it (listing and selling agents).

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