Selling Your Home Yourself…A Good Deal or an Ordeal?


So you’re thinking of selling your own home. It’s done all the time, right? There are many people who have tried and wish they hadn’t. Here are some of the reasons why.

It’s Not as Simple as it Seems. If you have had the training and experience in salesmanship, pyschology, diplomacy, law, finance, property values, are a skilled negotiator and paperwork doesn’t intimidate you . . . selling your home by yourself may be for you. You might even save yourself some money. But there are too many pitfalls, and that’s why most property transfers in this country are handled by Realtors.

What’s Your Home Worth? Do you really know? Without a professional appraisal, you may price it too high or too low. Realtors are involved with property valuation every day. They’re attuned to all the visible and hidden factors that affect your home’s worth, and can guide you in setting a fair and reasonable price. So your home will sell promptly, rather than stay on the market for months or longer.

Come One, Come All. It’s time to let the world know about it. The “For Sale” sign tells everybody who drives by that your house is open for inspection day or night, seven days a week. Some may be “just looking” without any real thought of buying. If you like company you are in for a great time, assuming that all the people who come in are your kind of folks. But there are some bad actors out there. Are you sure you want just anybody in your home?

So to reach the buyer that may never drive by you will have to advertise. That gets expensive. Phone calls at all hours may disrupt your routine. Week-end trips may end as you have to be home to sell your home.

This could be avoided if a Realtor were selling your home for you because you would see only qualified buyers who are looking for a home like yours and you would see them at your convenience.

Talking Turkey. When you finally find a serious looker, you will also find out how good a negotiator you are. There’s likely to be several thousand dollars between your asking price and his or her offer. Should you remain firm? If you do you may lose the sale. If you don’t you may cheat yourself. Knowing how much to give, or whether to give at all, demands knowledge and negotiating skill.

At this point your Realtor’s advice is invaluable. As a third party, his or her objective viewpoint will be reassuring to the buyer. And you will have an experienced professional in your corner to bargain for you. No one can handle this difficult part of the transaction more effectively than a Realtor.

Closing the Deal. Getting an indecisive buyer to make a decision will be the test. Saying the right thing, and knowing when not to say anything, can make the big difference. Successful salesmanship is an art and a science. Since buying a home is the biggest investment most of us ever make, highly sophisticated sales techniques are demanded. This is where your Realtor’s specialized training and experience with people really pay off.

And Now for the Paperwork. The many frustrations of selling your own home reach their climax at this point. First, your buyer will need a loan. Having to help him or her through the maze of mortgage financing, points, and interest rates may be impossible. Your contract will not be worth much if the buyer can’t get the money to pay you. There may be other complications. Your buyer will want satisfactory title evidence. Probably an inspection. There are taxes to consider. And dozens of other details to keep you busy before closing. Once again, a Realtor, working for you will shoulder this burden for you. Everything will be done properly, legally and with a minimum of bother on your part.

Still Want to Go It Alone? After all, you will save the Realtor’s commission? Not necessarily because most people who respond to “For Sale by Owner” offers expect to buy at a lower price. If you sell your home for less than its market value, you could lose far more than the commission you are trying to save.

Of course, it is your decision. But think carefully about all that is involved in time, skill and money. Then consider the advantages of having a Realtor do the job for you from start to finish, painlessly and safely. It is your decision. And it is your money.

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