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Consider this before you sell on your own
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Posted March 18, 2011 10:15 AM

There’s nothing stopping you from selling your home without a real estate agent. Can you believe I just wrote that? Some of my fellow Texas REALTORS® probably can’t. But it’s true. You can put a for sale by owner sign in your yard, buy ads, and negotiate the sale of your own home. Before you start heading down that road, though, you should consider a few things.

Practice makes perfect

If you’re selling your home, chances are you’ve been through at least one real estate transaction. Compare your experience and knowledge, though, to that of someone who spends every day helping people buy and sell property.

Real estate transactions can be complicated and multifaceted: title insurance, surveys, inspections, earnest money, option fees, escrow, financing, contingencies, disclosures, required addenda for specific types of properties—the list stretches on. Make a misstep somewhere along the way and you might jeopardize the transaction, lose money, or find yourself named in a lawsuit.

I’m not saying you can’t successfully negotiate the process on your own. However, regularly performing tasks and processes leads to expertise. I believe that using the services of a Texas REALTOR® is a better option.

Do you have the time?

Selling a home requires much more time than you think. You’ll have to educate yourself on the process, analyze the current housing market to determine a price for your home, research the various means of marketing your home and implementing the marketing strategies you choose.

And then you have to be available to show the property to prospective buyers. You’ll probably have to postpone any trips while your home is on the market and be around most weekends. What if someone wants to see the house at 10 a.m. on a Thursday? Be prepared to take off work to show your property.

Also, before you show your home to someone, I’d suggest you make sure that person is qualified and motivated to purchase it. Nothing is more frustrating than spending time with prospective buyers, negotiating a sale and getting halfway to closing only to find out the buyer can’t qualify for a loan.

Speaking of price

The biggest incentive to most people who decide to sell their homes on their own is saving the agent’s fee or commission. But that can backfire if you don’t set the right price for your home. Make a mistake here and you might leave a substantial amount of money on the table.

Overpricing your home can be equally detrimental. Homes initially priced too high may sit on the market giving the impression that something must be wrong with the property. Often, a home that starts off overpriced eventually sells for less than if it had been priced right at the beginning.

There’s also the give and take of negotiation. Some people are uncomfortable with the confrontation. Others get too emotional.

What has changed?

If you haven’t bought or sold a home in the last few years, you’ll quickly find out that quite a bit has changed, and I’m not only speaking of market conditions, which shift quickly and on a local level. I’m referring to the marketing tactics. Ideas that worked well the last time you were involved in a real estate transaction may not work this time.

Texas REALTORS® are here to help

To sum it up …yes, you can sell your home on your own. Some homeowners do so and are pleased with the process and results. Many others sell on their own, find it a huge headache, and vow never to do so again. Still others attempt to sell on their own and eventually hire a Texas REALTOR® to get the job done.

If you do choose to go it alone, make sure you’re aware of what it will really take and the stakes involved.

For your real estate needs, contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000.

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