When my wife and I were ready to sell our home, we created a plan. The most exciting part of creating this plan was calculating how much equity we would recover after everybody was paid and escrow was closed. This is where it turned less excited.
Here a fee, there a fee, everywhere a fee. The total amount was shrinking fast, so we looked deeper. Where could we save money by cutting and what were the largest expenses when selling our home? It turned out that the largest amount of money being paid out was for realtor commissions. At a projected sale price of $350,000, that meant we would pay a total of $21,000 in commissions (6% Total). Yikes! This seemed like a lot of money to us, so we made a list of why we shouldn’t use a real estate agent and why we should. This is what we created.
WHY WE SHOULD USE A REAL ESTATE AGENT
This list was simply what a real estate agent could offer us when selling our home or things we didn’t want to do or didn’t have the capabilities to do.
#1 PUBLISH YOUR HOME ON MLS
One of the most valuable tools that real estate agents and agencies have is their access to the multiple listing service (MLS). Nowadays, real estate marketing companies like Zillow, Realtor.com and Redfin are scraping information from these MLS databases across the country and listing them immediately. With the click of a button (the agent submitting the property on the MLS), literally hundreds of millions of people have access to your property information. There is nothing more valuable than this when selling your home.
#2 HOME SHOWINGS
Now that it’s over and we have sold our home, there is one thing I know. YOU DON’T WANT TO BE AT YOUR HOUSE WHEN A PROSPECTIVE BUYER IS LOOKING. It’s awkward and everybody involved will have an uneasy feeling as homeowners are hoping the buyers don’t see the chip in the tile, and buyers don’t feel comfortable enough to root around where they really want. Handing this over to a real estate agent was a top priority for us. We didn’t want anything to do with showing our home other than the 15-minute “drop everything and clean” that we all get when selling.
#3 PHOTOGRAPHY & LISTING
When we were looking through listings in our area to figure out the the sale price of our home, I really noticed something. Some of the listings had beautiful pictures, several angles of the home, drone footage, and wonderfully crafted descriptions of the property. AND SOME DID NOT! When I say some did not, I mean dark pictures of a dirty home, less than 5 pictures and a description that was full of abbreviations and poor grammar. So what was the difference?
The listing agent and agency. So unless you are a professional photographer with expensive equipment and great copywriting skills, find a real estate agent that offers this for you. If it’s really important to you, ask to see some of their current listings to get a better idea of what they offer.
Oh, the paperwork! The funny thing about the paperwork is there is very little until you actually get an offer. But once you do, it’s an absolute necessity to have somebody that has experience to draft, get signatures, and send to the buyer’s agent. Your agent will also be able to provide insight on everything from whether or not to include your window coverings in the sale to advice on what should be included on your disclosures (like that F16 practice flight path at 8 in the evening).
#5 SETTING EXPECTATIONS
The hardest part of deciding to use a real estate agent or not was simple. We didn’t know what we didn’t know, as we had never sold a home before. So, the sit down interview with our potential agents was critical. They outlined the process from signing a contract with them to represent our home sale to the close of escrow when the money was in our account. And believe it or not, that process was explained much differently between agents. That’s why it’s important to do your due diligence on your agency and your agent.
Make sure you shop around and feel comfortable about the process and how they are representing you throughout that process. The agent that was the most straightforward with us when setting expectations was the one we selected. I’m assuming this next part because we weren’t involved first-hand, but I believe the expectations they set with the buyer’s agent is also a critical element of which we wanted no part.
Because I have done some sales in my career, I thought this could go either way. Could an agent negotiate a higher price with the buyer more effectively than I could? I was willing to do the research and identify the trends and comparables that warranted a specific price point, but was that all I needed to know? Turns out, I had no clue. Here’s why.
The realtor knew the area and the styles of homes around us. He knew what the buyer’s agent would see as value and what he would use as leverage to lower the price. He was careful on how he positioned certain amenities of our property, so that they weren’t used to their advantage at a later stage of the negotiation. On top of that, he knew to stay firm on the sale price, so that we’d have some flexibility once the inspection and request for repairs were provided to us. In the end, I felt that our agent got a higher overall price than I would because of his knowledge of the overall process and how to position everything accordingly.
WHY WE SHOULD NOT USE A REAL ESTATE AGENT
When we started to focus on our list of reasons why we should not use a real estate agent. It was brief and our decision was obvious. Our main reason for not using a real estate agent was simply money. Yes, the commission was a huge amount, but when we looked at everything the realtor would offer us during this process, it was an easy decision. WE WOULD USE A LICENSED REAL ESTATE AGENT TO SELL OUR HOME.
At the end of it all with the money in our account and our title signed over to the new homeowners, we made the right decision. We were grateful for the services of our agent and everything went as smooth as discussed. This isn’t because everything went smooth during the transaction. Quite the opposite. It’s because the agent created a barrier to these issues and handled them with very little distraction in our daily lives.
As I have only covered a handful of reasons to use a real estate agent, there are definitely more questions and concerns and those questions should be answered by a licensed realtor in our Coldwell Banker Holman Premier Realty offices.
If you don’t have a realtor yet, check out Meet Your Klamath Falls Real Estate Agents or call us at 541-884-1343.