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For Sale by Owner: When You Need a Real Estate Agent

200px-For_Sale_by_Owner_Sign.svgHomes being offered "For Sale by Owner" (FSBO) are often a labor intensive way for home owners to attempt to save money. What the home owner may not realize is that home selling can be a full-time job with no immediate rewards.

While the commission charged for professional real estate services may be viewed by the FSBO home seller as avoidable, the seller might not be fully aware of the many tasks involved in the selling process. Out of pocket expenses such as paid advertising, signage and creation of print marketing materials are easy to account for, however experience, education, knowledge of real estate laws and behind the scene task management (scheduling /conducted showings, researching required disclosure information, qualifying buyers for their loan, scheduling/conducting inspections, monitoring the escrow process, following the title search, etc.) may falsely be devalued. Additionally, issues of personal safety created by failure to screen buyers and liability caused by a lack of understanding of contract law can present significant risk.

In 2006, the real estate market research firm Real Trends reported FSBO sales accounted for 20% of all homes offered for sales. As a result of the collapse of the real estate market in the years that followed, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® (NAR) 2012 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers survey found only nine percent of recent sellers reported that they sold their homes themselves.

In the NAR 2012 survey, FSBO sellers reported understanding and managing the paperwork was the hardest task, followed by getting the price right and preparing /fixing up the home for sale. On average, the sale price of the FSBO homes was nearly 19% less than the agent-assisted homes (the national average FSBO sold for $174,000 versus the agent-assisted homes sales averaged $215,000). In addition agents are the gateway to buyers with 89% of buyers purchasing their home through a real estate agent or broker.

If you're trying to sell your home on your own and it's starting to cause stress, exhaust you of your time and cost you money, consider hiring a Realtor. Real estate licensees affiliated with the National Association of Realtors professional membership are properly called REALTORS®. They're committed to treat all parties honestly, subscribe to a strict code of ethics and maintain a higher level of knowledge of the buying and selling process. When you entrust the sale of your home to an experienced Realtor, you have someone who will work on your behalf protecting your interest in what is likely your largest investment.

For a reasonable commission, an agent or a Realtor can:

  •  tap their existing network of homebuyers and the network of the other real estate professionals with their company and in their market place
  •  advise you how best to present your home by effectively pricing the property according to current market value and recommend improvements or repairs to get you the fastest sale at the highest price
  •  professionally advertise your home where people will see it, and do other forms of marketing, such as a virtual tour of your home for Internet listings
  •  be available in a full-time capacity to answer phone calls and emails, schedule showings, negotiate offers, and act as a buffer, filtering out bad offers and window shoppers
  •  research market trends and conditions to guide you throughout the selling process
  •  arrange inspections and appraisals
  •  help with legal documents, such as disclosure forms and purchase agreements
  •  communicate effectively with buyers and/or buyer's agents
  •  handle unexpected issues that can arise before and after the sale
  •  guide you through the closing process and attend the closing

An agent or a Realtor's advice, experience, and help will free your time, and in many cases, ease your mind, increase your sale price and shorten the sale process.

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