Listing your “home for sale by owner” vs using a real estate agent

Selling a home is stressful. Many people rely on professional realtors to get the job done, however there are others who decide to list their house on their own. While listing your home for sale by owner is an option, there are factors to consider before deciding which path to take.

Listing your “home for sale by owner” vs using a real estate agent

What does “for sale by owner” mean?

Listing a property for sale by owner means that the property owner has not hired a real estate agent and has opted out of obtaining professional real estate services. 

What does it mean to use a real estate company/agent?

There is a reason people recommend “leaving it to the professionals.”Good real estate agents have years of experience, and their extensive knowledge can guide you toward making a reliable and fiscally responsible investment. Not all realtors are the same, however, so make sure to read our post about finding the best agent for you.

5 Benefits of listing your home with a real estate agent

Listing your home for sale with a real estate agent is the safest way to ensure a seamless experience during the home-buying process. Here are some benefits for listing your home for sale by owner. 

1. Realtor Network

Realtors have connections with other industry professionals like appraisers, home inspectors, contractors, mortgage lenders, and other agents who are necessary to utilize for a successful transaction. These connections can lead to more exposure for your home, and your realtor will be exposed to more homes that could fit your needs. Your realtor can recommend a trustworthy and professional home inspector before you purchase a home, to make sure that you are making a good investment. If you decide you want to remodel, it is likely that your realtor has a solid contractor in mind.

2. Real estate professionals have a thorough understanding of what’s going on with the housing market and economy.

Real estate professionals spend their time reading and learning about the housing market, and because they are front and center, they can detect changes in the local economy before anyone else can. Access to this knowledge can help you make a good decision about when to sell or buy your home.

3. Realtors have knowledge of how to effectively write and read contracts. 

Realtors have to read a lot of fine print. They have the education and knowledge to write and read contracts, to know what each contract should include, and to use appropriate verbiage to set their clients up for success. They are also informed of local and state laws pertaining to real estate so that they can keep you and your investment safe. Realtors are required to participate in ongoing education to stay up-to-date on any laws or legislation that have changed.

4. Realtors are good at negotiating and may use techniques that you may not consider.

Let’s face it, not everyone has the type of personality to negotiate successfully, and even if you did, you may not know what types of entities within the house buying or selling process are even eligible to be up for negotiation. From closing costs to appliances to HVAC replacement, realtors can help you get the best bang for your buck and keep you from having more unexpected costs after the home is purchased. 

5. Real estate agents have access to resources for marketing like MLS, Zillow, Trulia, and more. 

From brokers to assistants and from MLS to Zillow and beyond, real estate agents have access to a myriad of resources that can make the homebuying or home-selling process easier. MLS, or Multiple Listing Service, is the most utilized system for marketing property in the United States. Among other benefits, MLS includes information about a property, titles, previous owners, listing prices, and more that other sites do not have access to. Realtors tend to have subscriptions to other platforms like Zillow, Reddoor, or, so you wouldn’t need to pay extra fees to take advantage of those methods of marketing and looking for homes.

Thoughts on real estate professionals

Realtors are knowledgeable and experienced and have the time and resources that most people do not have. They are able to fairly negotiate without emotion, they can tap into their network to help with things like photography, marketing, and appraisals; they understand legal contracts and jargon; and they may think to include things in the contract that a homeowner would never consider.

5 Benefits of listing your home for sale by owner

Listing your home for sale by owner is most common for people who are real estate professionals, but some people who are not real estate agents also list their homes for sale by owner. Here are some reasons why:

1. You may save on your seller's commission.

Many people believe that by listing their home for sale by owner they will save money by not having to give the seller’s commission to the realtor. Things to consider are the price and time you would have to invest in the rest of the process and also whether or not you have the experience to negotiate the best deal without a realtor. If you have time and money to invest in marketing, appraisers, etc., knowledge of how to buy or sell a house, and the ability to negotiate well, then you may actually save some money in the long run. If you feel that these factors are more than you bargained for, then hiring a real estate professional may be the best option for you.

2. You have complete control of the process. 

You will be able to negotiate on your own terms and work within your own timeframe. You will have full autonomy over how and to what extent you want to be involved. However, it is important to note that, without a real estate agent, you will likely be very involved with the process, so if you want to save time and energy, selling your home for sale by owner may not be the best option.

3. You can schedule showings on your own time. 

You will be able to decide when to show your house, how to show your house, and to whom you should show your house. You can decide how to make your house look presentable and can keep tabs on who is entering and exiting your home. 

4. You can cut out a middleman by communicating directly with the other agent. 

Real estate can be like a game of hurry up and wait. Both buyer and selling agents likely have other clients, so there may be a time in between interactions when you may be waiting to hear something. By eliminating a realtor, you will be the one to hear directly from the buyer’s agent.

5. You can learn more about real estate. 

The best way to learn something is to do it. If you want to learn more about real estate or pick up some new skills, selling your home will help you do that.

Thoughts on selling your own home

Selling your home without a real estate agent means that you can obtain the commission that typically goes to the Realtors. However, without proper expertise and knowledge, you may be losing money on the overall deal. 

Questions to ask yourself 

Still having trouble deciding whether or not to list your home with a realtor? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Am I comfortable with confrontation?

  2. Do I know how to negotiate without bias?

  3. Have I been following along with the housing market?

  4. Am I able to come up with a comparable and reasonable listing price?

  5. Do I know how to write and read through legal jargon and contracts?

  6. Am I comfortable advertising your listing on important real estate websites like Zillow, Redfin, or Trulia?

  7. Do I have access to appropriate home appraisers?

  8. Do I know how to make your home “list ready” without an outside perspective? 

  9. Do I know what red flags to look out for?

  10. Am I willing to settle for less than what you imagined?

Hopefully, these questions jogged your thought process to better know which direction you want to take when listing your home. Before you make a final decision, you can also reach out to real estate professionals in your area to get their opinions and input. Also, make sure to check out our amazing course on homebuyer education to feel even more confident that you’re making the best decision for yourself and your family, or reach out to one of our partners in your area!

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