You’ve made your decision. You’re going to sell your home. Now what?
Well, you can list it yourself as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO). You can “get an offer on your home with the press of a button” –OpenDoor. There are discount brokerages out there such as RedFin. Or, you can go the traditional route of listing your home with a real estate agent and pay the going rate of around 6% (3% to listing and 3% to buyer’s agent). There are benefits and reasons to choose each. Here, I will discuss the value of using a traditional real estate agent.
Location, location, location. Ultimately, the person you use to sell your house should have an intimate knowledge of the locality. What streets are good to live on and not. What is an up and coming area vs deteriorating. It is relatively easy to give an individual an immediate price estimate of their home. What is difficult is to know the local political landscape. Example: Someone may want to buy a small 1-bedroom condo and turn it into a Short-term rental. In Fort Collins, it better be in commercial zoning, otherwise, STR’s in residential areas are illegal. Investors need to work with individuals who know these things.
It is important to work with a real estate agent who can direct you to developing areas and areas of growth or stability. Also if you’re looking for family friendly neighborhoods vs. college rental areas. It will be up to you if you want to live next to a perpetual rental with 5 college boys living there, but hopefully you’re working with someone who could inform you of the likelihood.
There is a subdivision in Fort Collins that is the most affordable subdivision. Would I ever buy there? NO! Because there is manufactured homes, next to homes on a slab, next to tree houses, next to space ships. Not really, but kind of. Looking online you wouldn’t know that. You need someone with a focused local knowledge.
The Multiple Listing Service or MLS. You must be a realtor to be on it, however sites such as Zillow and Trulia are pretty good too. They just don’t provide you with ALL the information. That is step “zero”. Placing your property on the MLS should be a given.
In addition to the MLS, your real estate agent should present to you how they will get your home in front of as many people as possible and sell your home for the best price possible. Will that include open houses? Mailers? Social Media? Maybe it will include all of them or just a couple of them. Be open to listen to new and creative marketing techniques as well. Each home and different price points will all need a marketing plan specialized for it.
Although a home should not be considered an investment. It is a place where people are able to invest in their future by providing themselves secure housing. The biggest financial decision most of us will ever make is buying a home. It is important that you use an expert to help you make a decision on the purchase as well as an expert to help you when you decide to sell.
Just because you think your home is worth 2X doesn’t mean the market is willing to pay that. When a property hits the MLS it hits the hot sheets. Realtors send new listings to their buyers. Firms may have property tour days, where they go and visit new listings. When your property hits the market for the first time, it is your BEST opportunity to sell. It better be priced right.
Don’t overestimate your homes value and cost yourself thousands. If there are things your agent is missing such as a water softener or smart home features that could increase the value if marketed correctly, show them. Otherwise, feel free to get aggressive, sure, but if your property begins to sit on the market, your net figure may begin to suffer.
Your real estate agent is your financial fiduciary. They are in it for your best interest.
The home selling process can and is very emotional for home owners. You’ve spent 5, 10 or 20 years in this home. Your children grew up in this home. You need someone who can understand that and empathize with that while also maintaining their professional mission.
It is important that you are able to call/text your agent with questions or concerns and they help you through them. Your agent should be in constant communication with you. They will let you know how showings went, what the feedback was, how many people came through the open house and present offers and provide guidance.
Selling a home can be scary. Having someone who can empathize, understand that and stay focused on the mission can be priceless.
Your Ally in War
All deals that are win-win are the best deals. But lets not be stupid and suggest that each person isn’t fighting for the best financial outcome. As mentioned in the buyer’s side post, there are three areas of negotiation. The price, the inspection objection and the appraisal are these three areas. These areas each need to be discussed and responded to with strategy. You are the general of the army and your real estate agent is your sergeant. Give him/her the orders, but be willing to listen to their advisement as well.
The landscape of buying and selling a home are changing quickly. Discount brokerages, Zillow, OpenDoor and others are all keying in on the process. The variability of each deal is the X-factor. The above mentioned values of a traditional real estate agent can be a huge benefit to you and your bottom dollar when selling.
Determine your situation, understand your financial needs and make the decision that is best for you.