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Know what you're getting into if you go it alone
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 • Posted February 23, 2010 10:00 PM

If you're thinking about selling your home, you might be considering the for-sale-by-owner, or FSBO, route. But before you commit to going it alone, make sure you're not wearing rose-colored glasses. It's not an easy process, and you may not save the money you think you will.

Marketing your home is hard work

Marketing your home takes time and money. When you hire a Texas Realtor, that person typically takes on the bulk of both of those burdens. If you sell your home yourself, be prepared to place newspaper ads, put signs in your yard, take photos of your home, get the home listed on the Internet and hold open houses.

And make sure you are ready to make selling your home the top priority for as long as it takes to sell it. That means being available to show your home when buyers want to see it, which will likely take you away from work and family time, put a hold on vacations and keep you close to home on weekends.

Exactly who is that in your home?

Do the people coming to see your home have the financial means to meet your price? If you don't know the answer, you could be wasting valuable time, and thwarting your best efforts to sell. If your potential buyer doesn't have financing and is holding up the process for months as a result while they're trying to get it, you could be heading down a very long and frustrating road.

Many FSBO homeowners, eager to sell on their own, make the mistake of failing to find out, before any contracts are signed, whether the potential buyers have made arrangements for a loan or whether they have even spoken to a lender. A Texas Realtor can pre-screen buyers to make sure that only those who are pre-qualified visit your home.

The price may not be right

Setting the right price can be a challenge for someone who does not work in the real estate field day in and day out. Make a mistake here and you might leave a substantial amount of money on the table. Overpricing your home can be equally detrimental, as overpriced homes sit on the market longer and tend to eventually sell for less than those that are priced right at the beginning.

Agents who specialize in the area know your neighborhood like no one else, and that information is valuable when it comes to setting a price for your home. It also comes in handy when it's time to be objective about what changes might be necessary to sell it more quickly.

Save money? Maybe not

The number one reason people give for not wanting to sell through an agent is the lack of desire to pay a commission. However, if you're hoping to sell your home yourself to save money, you may not accomplish your goal. According to the 2009 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median sales price for FSBO homes last year was $143,500, while the median price of agent-assisted home sales was $188,000.

Agents know the market, are skilled negotiators, and bring other qualities that may more than pay for their fee. Plus, just think what it will cost you if you make a mistake, get into legal trouble, or run into other problems that you could have avoided with the guidance of a professional.

The bottom line is that real estate transactions are complex, with many forms and legalese to negotiate. And even if you do go through all that it takes to successfully market and sell your own home, you may not realize the savings you hoped for when you started. That’s why I encourage you to use a Texas Realtor for your next real estate transaction.

For more information about buying, selling or leasing real estate in the Lone Star State, or to find a Texas Realtor, I invite you to visit TexasRealEstate.com. For your real estate needs, please contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000.

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