I was a lawyer for 30 years. Over that period of time, I bought and sold five homes. I never represented myself in any of these sales; I always used a realtor. Why? Because I wasn’t an expert in real estate; I was a consumer.
Today I’ll talk about why I think you should use an agent to sell your home rather than going it alone. Tomorrow, I’ll blog about why I also think you should have your own agent when you purchase, too.
These days, a lot of home owners think they don’t need an agent to sell their homes. They have other ways to get their properties on MLS or alternative websites. Before you make that decision, you should at least know what the issues are.
First of all, going it alone restricts your ability to determine a fair price. Only realtors have easy access to the sales history of the comparable properties that have sold recently. If you’re trying to price a house without that information, you can only know what the asking price was of houses that sold nearby, if you’ve been keeping track of them. You won’t know what they sold for.
More importantly, you aren’t likely to know what issues there may have been with those properties, like water problems, or asbestos, or UFFI. That means you may either underprice or overprice your property. If it’s the former, you’ll sell quickly alright — everyone likes a bargain. But you won’t get the best price, maybe not even a fair price, for your property.
If it’s the latter, and you price too high, you’ll certainly help to sell the properties around you, but it will take you longer to sell and you may not sell at all.
A realtor can help you figure out the appropriate list price for your home, and discuss strategies on how to market it. He or she can do a walk-through with you to discuss needed repairs and what, if anything, you should do to get your house ready for sale.
And then there’s the convenience of having a realtor representing you. Once the sign goes up and the listing agreement is signed, appointments are arranged through us. We have lockboxes and computerized i-boxes that allow other realtors easy access to your home, so you aren’t stuck there for showings.
We verify measurements and all the other information needed to ensure a listing is accurate. I’ve found situations, for example, where the tax records for a home’s frontage were incorrect and the homeowner had overpaid taxes for years. I also found one recently where the legal description was wrong. Is that the kind of thing you could find, or correct, on your own?
A realtor advertises their listings on multiple websites to ensure maximum visibility. We conduct Open Houses, and answer all questions from buyers or their agents. We make sure the cat doesn’t get out and that doors are locked, and alarms set. If we have a multiple offer situation, we deal with all the ethical issues needed to make sure that offers are handled fairly.
We prepare all the paperwork to deal with accepting offers and the removal of conditions., We’re there during house inspections. We make sure your financial institution and lawyer get what they need, and follow up with you to make sure you have a full checklist of what you need to do re utilities and changes of address.
Royal LePage has arrangements with movers, as well as an array of other companies, to get you discounts on the services you need to move out and/or into your new home.
But we do more than that. Our job is to make an inherently stressful process as stress-free as possible. I’ve helped clients paint, clean, declutter, and rearrange furniture. I’ve brought in my own rugs, tables, cushions, and art to help stage their property. I’ve grouted bathroom tiles, picked out hardwood and tiles for major renos, negotiated discounts with suppliers and trades and supervised the work needed so my clients didn’t have to be there.
I’ve brought my clients casseroles when they were busy clearing out junk and were exhausted; a bottle of wine to help them relax, cakes for the kids. In other words, I’ve done whatever it takes to keep them sane and healthy.
A realtor will help you sell your property efficiently. Our job is to get it done. Last year, even when the market was slow, every one of my listings sold for over asking price within a week. And that included a property that received only one offer.
You need objective advice to make sure you get the best possible price for your home in current market conditions, whatever they may be. Realtors work in this business every day. We keep on top of things like average sale prices, days on market, and trends.
Whew. Can you really do all of that alone?