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Don't Go It Alone - Use a REALTOR®

Do-it-yourself homeowners want to save money and often enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done – both good financial and personal goals to strive towards. But there’s a big difference between the skills involved in fixing your home versus what is necessary to sell it. Smart homeowners know that working with a professional can pay off when the time comes to sell.

In this complex economy, a REALTOR® is almost a necessity. A REALTOR® can give you tips to stage your home and make it stand out from the competition. They can guide you to keep your pricing tight and in line with the competition, and they can also expose your home through print and internet advertising in venues that are not available to “for sale by owners”. Any way you slice it, home sellers on average tend to make more money when they use a REALTOR®.

The truth is that “do-it-yourself” home selling saves you neither money nor time. Many people who sell their homes on their own make less money than those who rely on the skills and expertise of a REALTOR®. Research by the National Association of REALTORS® indicates that the national median for-sale-by-owner selling price ($184,000) generated 20 percent less than the median selling price of homes marketed by REALTORS® ($230,000).

A home seller can’t underestimate the power of marketing. Most sellers are not experts in the time-consuming and sometimes labor-intensive marketing strategies necessary to expose their home to a wide audience and attract potential buyers. A REALTOR® has access to the Multiple Listing Service, and other marketing tools such as, their own business website, and many more sites developed exclusively for REALTORS®. As a matter of fact, 88 percent of home sellers in the area sold their home with the assistance of a REALTOR® last year. Some attempted to sell a house themselves, but then turned to a REALTOR® to “get the job done.”

If you go it alone to sell your house, your buyer likely won’t be working solo, putting you at a further disadvantage. According to the 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 88 percent of recent homebuyers in our area used a REALTOR® to purchase their home. These buyers have someone to help him or her screen homes and ensure that their rights are being protected.

REALTORS® have the training and expertise to help the customer with all aspects of the real estate transaction. Recent unrepresented sellers reported that the most difficult tasks to undertake are preparing the home for sale and getting the price right. If you don’t have a REALTOR® on your side, you won’t have a sounding board to help you decide whether to update your house in preparation for the sale or to help strategize about the best asking price. In addition, a REALTOR® can show a home more objectively than an owner can and has the experience necessary to pre-qualify potential buyers.

Not every buyer who walks through your door will qualify for a mortgage or is motivated to see the process through to the closing table. That can waste your valuable time.

Selling a home is a complex transaction. A REALTOR® will ensure that the proper paperwork and various disclosures and inspections are handled correctly and in a timely fashion. The “Residential Property Disclosure Form” is mandatory to a sale in the state of Ohio by the Dept of Commerce, and the “Lead based Paint Disclosure Form” is mandatory by the Federal government.

Agreeing to a sale is never as simple as accepting the best price. For example, the seller must decide which contingencies in the offer are acceptable. Negotiating terms on behalf of the client is a skill REALTORS® practice continuously to help their clients get the best deal. Without the experience and training in negotiation, an unrepresented seller might let problems take the sale off track over a minor issue or let a buyer with representation take advantage of the situation.

With the housing market in transition, selling a home can present even more challenges than usual. The value of professional advice from a REALTOR® becomes clear in these times.

Don’t go it alone when it is time to sell your house. Many aspects of the sale can be risky for a novice and are better not left to chance by the unrepresented seller. Make sure you have the representation and assistance from a REALTOR®.