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Selling your house is no simple task. Many sellers are unaware of just how much is involved when you sell on your own (what we call a FSBO, or For Sale by Owner) and how much of the transactional obligations and duties become their responsibility.

Because of this, many sellers unwittingly miss key points of the process that can result in the deal falling apart, loss of money and time, much added stress and potential legal ramifications.

front yard sign house for sale by owner
front yard sign house for sale by owner

No, it’s really not so simple as shaking hands on the dollar amount. There are many factors to be negotiated in ensuring sellers the best agreements with the least likelihood of any fallout.

The 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveys homeowners who recently sold their homes on their own and asks what difficulties they faced. Some of the biggest headaches reported included prepping their home for sale, pricing it right and handling the required paperwork.

If you’re considering whether or not you actually need an agent, you might want to take the points below into consideration.

1. Making the Best First Impression

Selling your house requires a significant amount of time and effort. Doing it right takes expertise and an understanding of today’s buyers. Sellers often have many questions and guess at what they should be doing to get the home ready.

Your time and money are important, and you don’t want to waste either focusing on the wrong things. Working with an agent is a great way to save yourself a lot of trouble, knowing what to focus in on (and what you can leave be) to offer the best appeal to today’s buyers.

Modern home staging of living room

2. More Buyers through Your Door. More Offers on Your Table

Today, the average home is getting 3.6 offers per sale according to recent data from NAR. That’s great news if you’re planning to sell, since the more offers you receive, the more likely you are to sell your house in a bidding war at a higher price with better terms. Getting that kind of attention starts with point #1 but is the result of more than just paint and plants. Not just THAT it’s listed but WHERE it’s listed, is incredibly important.

While you may have access to a handful of sites to share the big news, such as Zillow, there are a number of databases you want your home to appear on which are only accessible to realtors and brokers. This is on top of having the resources to link and sync your listing across social media platforms along with running targeted advertisements across Google and more. I know I personally develop professional print and digital marketing materials to help my clients make the greatest possible impression across the board.

Some sellers think with the current inventory issues, this is a non-issue but this is FALSE. Buyers are very quick to not just determine their level of interest but also their perceived value of what you have to offer. It’s important we work together to help them see your home in its best light.

3. Understand the Documentation, Including the Fine Print

Today, when a house is sold, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory, meaning the number of legal documents to juggle is growing. It’s hard to understand all the requirements and fine print (especially if you’re not an expert). That’s why your advisor is an invaluable guide.

Magnifying glass on a legal contract
Magnifying glass on a legal contract

Your agent knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the paperwork means, and can work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documentation and avoid any costly missteps that could happen if you tackle it on your own.

4. Act as Your Expert Negotiator

If you sell without an agent, you’ll also be solely responsible for all negotiations. That means you have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. Your agent relies on experience and training to make the right moves throughout the negotiation. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address each individual concern, and when you may want to get a second opinion. When you sell your house yourself, you’ll need to be prepared to have these conversations on your own.

5. Price It Right

Real estate professionals have the expertise to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your house. These factors are key to making sure your house is priced to move quickly and get you the maximum return on your investment.

When you sell as a FSBO, you’re operating without this advantage. That could cost you in the long run if you price your house too high or too low.

Bottom Line

Working with an agent is the best way to ensure you have an expert on your side to guide you at every turn. Agents have the skills and knowledge that are essential to navigating each step with ease, efficiency, and accuracy. Here are just a few things a real estate agent will do to make sure you get the most out of your sale.

There’s a lot that goes into selling your house, and it takes time, effort, and expertise to truly maximize your sale. Instead of tackling it alone, let’s connect to make sure you have an expert on your side.

LATRICIA MORRIS, REALTOR
COLDWELL BANKER REALTY
1000 N. Prince St. | Lancaster, PA 17603 
Phone: 717-874-9787 
E-mail: latricia@edenhouselancaster.com
Blog: EdenHouseLancaster.com

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