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Should I Sell My Home Myself?

Should I sell my home myself” is something that some sellers are asking today, particularly those in fast selling neighborhoods and areas where the inventory of homes for sale is low, after all, how hard can it be to sell a home if homes are in such high demand?  Well, there’s a lot more to selling your home than it may appear on the surface, particularly today with all the many regulations that affect a home sale.

But I know people that are interested in my home…

Yes, finding people “interested” in your home is not that difficult, the tricky part is finding a buyer that is qualified, ready to buy, and is interested in your home at a price and under terms that work for you.  Lately, with the shortage of inventory of homes for sale, the problem hasn’t been finding a buyer, it’s been selecting the right buyer the leads to a successful closing and, for this, there is nothing better than having a professional real estate agent representing you who knows what to look for in a buyer.
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What are the other pitfalls of trying to sell your home yourself?  

You can get our complete report, “Why You DON’T Want to Sell Your Home As A “FSBO” (For Sale By Owner)” by clicking here, but below are some highlights.

You are NOT going to save money.

The problem is that everyone wants the commission. The primary motivating factor for a home buyer to seek out a FSBO is a desire to save the “commission”, the same motivation you have for wanting to sell the home on your own. However, you and the buyer can’t both have the savings.

 

Your home will NOT be exposed to the entire market and therefore may not yield the highest price.

Many FSBO’s buy a generic “for-sale” sign, put it in their yard, and wait for the buyers to call. Unfortunately, there is much more involved in getting your home sold than this. While a for-sale sign is one of the better ways of exposing your home to potential buyers, it only exposes your home to your neighbors and those potential buyers that may be driving the area. It is imperative, especially in today’s market, that homes for sale are published in the REALTORS® MLS, national real estate sites such as Realor.com as well as other local sites, through social media, etc.

The buyer doesn’t need (or want) your help.

If you list your home with a good real estate agent, the agent will advise you that, during showings, you need to not be at home. This is done to make prospective buyers feel comfortable and give them the freedom to look around at your house without feeling like they are being intrusive. If you do a FSBO this is basically impossible so you will need to be present during showings. Even if you would want to give the buyer some privacy, you may be hesitant to give a buyer unfettered access to your house without supervision.

You may take it personal and emotions can prevent a deal.

When it comes time to negotiate with an interested purchaser many sellers blow it when doing it on their own. The seller and the buyer are looking at the same “deal” quite differently. The seller sees their home as the palace they are offering at a great price in great condition and the buyer sees it as a house that is not decorated the way they like, needs some improvement and is over-priced. This is why no seller ever lists their home at the price that is the absolute minimum they will accept and why a buyer rarely offers the full price, particularly in challenging markets.

This is why negotiating is a big part of any real estate transaction. This is another area where, if it can be handled by an objective third-party it goes much smoother but FSBO’s are usually forced to deal directly with the buyer, or worse-yet, the buyers agent directly (this is worse because they are represented by a professional and the seller is not which puts them at a disadvantage). Sellers tend to take the buyer’s offer’s, and their justification for an offer at less than asking price, personal and often let emotions blow up the negotiations.

A hand-shake won’t cut it.

There was a time when a simple handshake sealed a deal, and today there are many transactions still done in that manner, but when it comes to real estate that is not the way to go. For a variety of reasons, all aspects of the sale of a house should be handled in writing and this includes the negotiations. Too frequently FSBO sellers will negotiate the sale of their homes verbally and think they have reached “an agreement” only to find the deal blows up when it is reduced to writing because of terms or conditions in the contract that either are new, or were not discussed during negotiations. Not to mention if you want a legally-binding contract that you sue the buyer to enforce it must be in writing according to the Statute of Frauds.

You will find a variety of sources for pre-printed sale contracts online that you can consider using or you can hire an attorney to prepare the documents but, in either event, the buyer is probably going to have concerns about using your documents, particularly if your attorney prepared them. If your home was listed with a REALTOR® then you transaction would be handled utilizing forms prepared by the St. Louis Association of REALTORS® which are revised and updated regularly to keep up with changing laws and practices, are fair and are trusted by thousands of home buyers and sellers each and every year.

But they SAID they were pre-approved for financing

It’s exciting when, trying to sell your home, someone comes forward and says they want to buy it. It’s even more exciting when you have been able successfully negotiate the terms of the deal and reach an agreement with the buyer. What next? Well, unless the buyer is paying cash (which is highly unlikely) the buyer is going to need a loan to complete the purchase of your home.

Seller’s can waste weeks, sometimes even months, waiting for an un-qualified, or maybe un-prepared, buyer to get their financing. Many times, particularly when a buyer is working with an agent, the buyer will visit a lender first and get “pre-approved” for their financing. While this is an excellent practice and Seller’s should not enter into a contract to sell their home without some assurance the buyer is qualified and can get financing, many “pre-approvals” literally are not worth the paper they are written on.

You do NOT have “A great yard for kids”

Why not? Because the Federal Fair Housing Laws say so! Granted, homeowners are not typically real estate professionals and therefore may not be aware of the laws that affect the sale of a home, but if a Seller is going to act like a real estate agent by selling their own home, then they need to educate themselves on laws that affect how they sell their home. This includes Federal Fair Housing laws. It is actually faily easy to violate the law pretty innocently but when it comes to Fair Housing Laws “good intentions” or “ignorance of the law” doesn’t get you very far. The most common violation of Fair Housing Laws by FSBO’s is probably in their ads. Seller’s may not give a thought to such statements in ads as “great for empty nesters”, “In St. Thomas Parish”, “nice yard for kids”, “executive home” etc. but these could all be violations of the fair housing laws.

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