If there’s one thing I wish I could change about the real estate market, it’s that people fear selling without an agent. I am completely convinced that anyone who can own a home can sell a home. Period. My students are always telling me that I say this too much, but: everything an agent does, you can do.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common issues that prevent home sellers from choosing to sell on their own:
- FEAR OF A STRESSFUL EXPERIENCE
This is especially common of first-time home sellers. There’s a lot of information to suddenly learn: legal paperwork, inspections, formal offers. It can be intimidating. Not to mention all the little things of day-to-day work: finding buyers, getting the word out and so on. But, home owners, listen to me: don’t let the fear of stress stop you from saving thousands of dollars!
In reality, selling is only as stressful as you make it. Being organized, informed and persistent can serve to combat a lot of the potential stress-makers.
- FEAR OF SPENDING TOO MUCH
This applies to a lot of things: spending too much money, too much time, too much effort. Sellers fear they will be consumed by the experience and still might not sell.
Here’s what I say to that: when you determine the cost of your home, calculate 6% of that. If you determine to set a specific budget below that—say 2% or 4%, it’s up to you—then you’ll know how much you can not spend and still be saving. But really, there’s little to spend on. You’ll be surprised at the opportunity to maximize your money. The same thing applies to time and effort: determine from the beginning how much you will/won’t spend, and stick to that budget.
- FEAR OF FAILURE
This, I believe, is the largest factor. Sellers worry that they will go through the work of selling on their own and not be successful. It’s a valid concern, and it does happen to some people. I think the key is to be proactive in your efforts and to stay on top of the process. An article from ABC News (read it here) said it best:
“The Realtors’ association crows that nine out of 10 homeowners end up hiring a Realtor after trying to do a FSBO. My answer is, ‘so what?’ Why not try to sell on your own to save the money? If you succeed, you’re a genius. If you don’t, you’re right back where you started.”