every homebuyer, there is a seller. And for every seller, there is
someone who has — however briefly — thought about selling his or her
own real estate. In real estate circles, property listed by owners is
referred to as "fizz-bo," the pronounciation of the acronym
FSBO, which stands for "for sale by owner."
owners can and do sell their own property. There are Internet sites,
offering all manner of tips and suggestions designed to help you sell
your home. But hints to sellers on how to spruce up a home to help it
sell are usually good ideas for every seller — even those who elect to
use a professional real estate agent. The fact that the do-it-yourself
sites feel it necessary to have articles on "contingencies,"
"credit scoring," "locking-in interest rates,"
"buy downs" and "home inspections," speaks volumes
about the need for a professional to handle your transaction.
deny themselves the benefit of using a real estate professional because
they want to "save" money. If selling it yourself is such a
good idea, why are FSBO transactions only 16 percent of home listings
National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced an advertising campaign
recently in which they hope to persuade FSBOs to use a Realtor. The FSBO
spot illustrates the convenience and expertise Realtors bring to complex
transactions. It makes side-by-side comparisons between selling a home
with and without Realtor expertise and lets viewers draw their own
conclusions about which method is preferable.
the sellers’ markets in many locales and predictions the Internet
would diminish the role of agents, a recent NAR study found only 16
percent of homes were sold directly by owners in 1999, even fewer than
the 18 percent in 1997. Also, the survey revealed the median selling
price of a home sold directly by an owner was $113,000, while the median
sales price of a home sold using an agent was $129,900.
even more telling, however, is that of those homeowners who did
successfully sell their home without a professional’s help, 50 percent
vowed they would never do it again. They cited these complexities and
open houses, arranging for appraisals and inspections
and filing paperwork
buyers obtain financing
time to do it all.
it should be emphasized that it is possible to save commission costs by
selling a home on your own or using discount firms. You must understand,
however, the trade-offs involved. Namely, you deny yourself access to
someone trained in real estate terminology and practices, which can be
real estate agents are able to provide up-to-date reports on comparable
sales in your neighborhood. Because they work in the local market daily,
they have a much better understanding of what is happening there and
what financing options are available. If the agent is a Realtor, they
can provide more exposure, via the Multiple Listing Service, than most
homeowners can obtain on their own. In most cases, it takes less time to
use a licensed real estate professional to sell your home.
you do elect to use a licensed real estate agent, how do you know which
one to pick? The Texas Association of Realtors offers these guidelines
to help find the broker that’s right for you.
your agent with care — as you would a lawyer or doctor. Talk with
friends, neighbors and co-workers who have recently bought or sold a
home in the area. What kind of service did they receive? Would they use
the same broker or company next time?
an open house. Observe the salespersons in action, and judge their
expertise. Were you shown the home in a professional manner? Had they
done their homework so they were familiar with the property?
on real estate companies that specialize in residential sales. Look for
"sold" signs around town and in your neighborhood. A
successful track record warrants your consideration.
the real estate section of your newspaper for listings of homes in the
same price range as yours. This will help you identify companies that
market homes similar to yours. And, you can see how your home stacks up
against the competition.
potential listing companies for an interview. Look for salespersons that
take copious notes. When
you visit the prospective listing companies, here are some questions you
should consider asking the real estate broker:
long have you been licensed?
long have you actively worked in the Brazos Valley?
many home sales have you closed in the last three months?
you work full time as a real estate professional?
you give me names of three references whose homes you’ve sold
will you work to actively seek buyers for my home?
you participate in a cooperative listing service?
you earned any specialty professional real estate designations? If
so, which ones?
professional courses or training sessions have you attended
good real estate broker keeps the clients’ interest in mind at all
times, provides frequent status reports and has a clear understanding of
the housing market and financing terms. To maximize exposure and
minimize problems, enlist the services of a broker. Your peace of mind
and a great deal of money are at stake. With professional assistance,
the home-selling process can be much easier.