Pitfalls of selling your home on your own(and some low-price alternatives)

As most of us already know, there is a severe shortage of available homes throughout the USA and Canada. This has created an “ultra-seller’s market” where homes have been sold within a matter of days (and sometimes, hours) of going on the market, selling way above asking price.

Since this is the current situation (which can change as quickly as escalating gas prices and “shortages), many of us feel that we are perfectly capable of selling a home without using a real estate broker, thus saving the “outrageous” commissions they charge for just sticking a listing in the MLS and nothing else”.

The truth is they do a lot more than put your home in the MLS. Here is a quick list of what they will do for you–

  • Provide actual sale prices on closed homes

  • Provide information on homes currently on the market that will compete with your home

  • Advise you on what should be done to make your home more salable

  • Provide professional Marketing materials (including professional looking photos for the brochures, internet sites and MLS).

  • Place your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), their company website(s) as well as

  • Zillow, Trulia and

  • Set up the appointment scheduling service for showings, feedback, and security

  • Provide state required disclosures such as Seller condition affidavit and other documents that must be completed to ensure a legal and binding sales contract

  • Screen buyers to ensure that they are financially able to buy the home before permitting them to view the home

  • Provide all state approved purchase documents and disclosures

  • Will, with a full-service broker, represent you in sale and repair negotiations

  • Make sure that all conditions and contingencies are met in a timely manner

  • Handle closing details so that the sale is smooth, on time and without loose ends

If you choose our Concierge Services, we will assist you in identifying vetted Realtor® resources for your approval.

Before you decide to handle the marketing of your home without a real estate broker, ask yourself these questions honestly -

  • Are you comfortable handling all these details?

  • Do you feel comfortable showing your home to people who you don’t know?

  • Do you know how to qualify and verify a buyer before allowing them to view your home?

  • Are you familiar with what you can / cannot say or write under Fair Housing laws?

  • Do you understand the various forms connected with selling and closing your home?

  • Do you understand the home selling process from beginning to end?

  • Are you ready to deal with the onslaught of new agents that will call, email and stop by in the hope of getting the listing?

If you feel that you understand all the aspects associated with selling a home on your own, then go for it. If not, use a Realtor® who can offer various levels of services which is reviewed in in this post. If you are still not sure that you can do it on your own, consider -

Lower Cost Realtor® Listing Options

Let’s start off by defining the term Realtor®.

A Realtor® is a licensed real estate broker or salesman who is a member of The National Association of Realtors®, which gives them the right to place your home on the Multiple Listing Services (MLS). This nationwide service allows your broker to notify all other member brokers and non-Realtors® that subscribe to the MLS as well as the general public, that your home is available for sale. This is an essential tool for marketing your home.

All Realtors must subscribe to a strict code of ethics that are updated yearly, in order to become and maintain their NAR membership.

Non-members can also have access to the MLS as a non-member. In most cases, the Realtor® fees and non-member fees are the same. The difference is that they do not subscribe to the Realtor® Code of Ethics.

There are 3 basic alternatives that maybe available in your market

Flat fee brokers that provide listing services for a flat fee which can range from $300 to $5000 or more depending on the services they perform. Fees for these brokers are expected up front.

In addition to putting your home in the MLS, some flat fee brokers offer “ala cart” pricing for services ranging from taking photos for the MLS, offering lock boxes and a sign, setting your home up on the appointment services, documents and so forth.

In all cases, keep in mind that in addition to their fees, you will have to pay the broker that represents the buyer their fee, usually for a percentage of the sale price. Make sure that you offer a fee that will is compatible with the market*.

In most cases, where permitted by law, these brokers will not be representing you. They are there to put your home in the Multiple listing Service(s) as well as provide the paperwork. All negotiations will be handled by you, the seller.

Full service flat fee brokers will represent you in all aspects of marketing and negotiations on your behalf, just like traditional brokers. The difference is you pay a flat fee vs a percentage of the sale price which is usually paid at closing. These brokers generally share a portion of their fee with the broker that secures the buyer. Again, make sure that the fee being offered to the broker that represents the buyer is compatible with the market*.

Full service flat fee brokers generally handle higher priced homes as their fee for lower priced homes will be higher than market.

Discount brokers are “full service” brokers that charge a discounted commission –

These firms will offer a discount for a variety of reasons such as –

  • Your home is in a “hot area” that sells in days at full price or above