1. Marketing your home online isn’t as easy as you think
Buyers always start online, and “for sale by owner” sellers are unlikely to get the exposure they need on a number of listings websites to reach their audience. Sticking a sign in your yard or trying to pull off some DIY social media marketing hardly has the same effect.
How an agent can help: Using an agent automatically offers widespread exposure for your listing through the multiple listing service. Your real estate agent will also have the means to promote your house to fellow agents to share with their clients.
2. Homes for sale by owner could be priced wrong
Those who put their homes on the market as FSBO tend to set a price based on an online assessment tool or the lofty sum that the neighbor down the street claims they were offered—two methods that are liable to put the listing price way off.
The danger in overpricing a home is that it will languish on the market, and buyers will wonder why, even if you lower the price later.
How an agent can help: A real estate agent will provide an accurate home value based on a comprehensive market analysis to help you arrive at the right listing price. The goal is to make sure you’re pricing your home in the sweet spot—not too high so that you are turning off potential buyers, and not too low so you are leaving money on the table.
3. You could underestimate (or overestimate) how much money to spend on curb appeal
A novice home seller is unlikely to view their home objectively or know how to stage it to appeal to the broadest audience.
On the flip side, if you’re trying to make the home sale by owner option work, you might end up investing far more money than is needed.
How an agent can help: Even if you’re not up for a full home makeover, your agent has an eye for detail and can recommend simple, budget-conscious swaps that can translate into real dollars when it comes negotiation time.
4. Showings are a drag
FSBO sellers don’t realize how draining it can be to set up showings. And on top of scheduling actual potential buyers, you also have to deal with both looky-loos and “sharks,” (investors looking to flip your house for a profit).
How an agent can help: Your agent will handle all the scheduling and staff the tours for you, so all you have to do is quickly tidy up and vacate.
In fact, that is another key reason to have an agent: Buyers can get uncomfortable with a seller hanging around during the showing. Agents also will weed out unsuitable offers and collect feedback that potential buyers might be unwilling to share directly with the seller, which can make subsequent showings even stronger.
5. Preparing your own paperwork can be tricky
Unless you have a background in contracts or law, you might want to leave the paperwork to the pros. The closing process can entail more than 20 pages of complicated paperwork, including the contract and addendums designed to cover all of the situations that could go wrong.
How an agent can help: Your agent will take care of all property disclosures and corresponding documentation to avoid future liability.
If the seller does not use an agent and doesn’t know every law and required paperwork specific to their community, they open themselves up to lawsuits.
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