By: Gordon Jackson
Ads on TV and online make selling your house on your own sound easy.
The reality is it’s more complicated and time-consuming than it sounds.
Realtor Sherrye Gibbs, managing member/qualifying broker for Sea Palms Coastal Realty, said people trying to sell a home on their own quickly learn there are too many people with whom to negotiate.
“Real estate professionals are experts who guide sellers through the process; they are trained negotiators with the ability to get the best deal possible for their sellers, and they have the expertise to alleviate much of the seller’s stress during the process,” Gibbs said.
The seller has to negotiate a price with the buyer, who wants the best possible deal. And the seller may have to deal with the buyer’s agent, whose job is to represent the best interests of the buyer. The seller also has to deal with the inspection company representing the buyer. If there is a question about the home’s value, the seller will have to deal with an appraiser.
“Additionally, a seller on their own will not know if the buyer can afford to purchase the house and is not normally involved in the mortgage process of the buyer,” Gibbs said. “The documentation involved in the selling process can be overwhelming and the seller must take steps to avoid personal legal jeopardy while dealing with the closing attorney, who normally represents the lender.”
And if sellers believe they will save money by selling their home without a Realtor, houses sold with a Realtor average six percent more than those sold by the owner.
“Many homeowners think they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own, and the main reason buyers look at ‘For Sale by Owner’ properties is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission,” Gibbs said. “However, the seller and the buyer can’t both save on the commission.”
Realtor Dana Hill, with Georgia Coast Realty, said selling can also be difficult from a legal standpoint.
“We help with all disclosures and contracts in today’s heavily regulated environment,” she said.
The regulations are one of the major reasons for the “For Sale by Owner” method has dropped from 19 percent to 8 percent over the past 20 years, according to the National Association of Realtors, she said.
“We negotiate on your behalf from the initial offer through the home inspection repairs,” she said. “We act as a buffer with all parties throughout the entire process. We coordinate all showings, inspections (which can include the home inspection, termite inspection, water and septic inspections), access for the appraiser and coordinating the closing with the mortgage lender, attorney and insurance agent.”
The mortgage market changes rapidly and a Realtor will also work with local lenders to guarantee the buyer makes it to the closing table, Hill said.
“When listing your home, one of your top goals is to get the house sold for the best possible price,” Hill said. “We’ll help you accomplish this with tips to make your home show its best, from the staging to curb appeal. Every small project can make a big difference to get you top dollar.”