Selling a house can seem like a difficult task. While the process of buying a house may have been made easier with the help of a realtor, you might decide to save some money on commission by trying to sell your home on your own. It’s a common thought among sellers because no one wants to give up tens of thousands of dollars to a realtor on the sale of their home.
Before you make any hasty decisions, you should understand how a realtor can reduce the stress of selling a home by making the process a whole lot easier for you. In this article, we’ll discuss whether it’s best to sell your home yourself or through a realtor by discussing the pros and cons of each. By the end of the article, you’ll have a better understanding of your options to help you make the right decision based on your unique circumstances.
Selling Without a Realtor
When you sell a house without a realtor, it’s called “for sale by owner” or FSBO. FSBO listings are marked as such to let potential buyers know they won’t be working with a realtor if they’re interested in selling the home. Of course, buyers still have the option to work with their realtor. However, selling a home without a realtor isn’t advised if you don’t know your buyer because there’s a long process and tons of paperwork involved.
While the actual process of selling a home without a realtor is the same as selling with one, you’ll have to deal with a different listing because you won’t have access to the multiple listing service (MLS) realtors use. Instead, you can pay real estate companies to list your home on the MLS without representation or use free listing services. In addition, selling your home without a real estate agent means giving yourself more work, so it may not be worth it if you already have a full-time job and don’t want to take on additional responsibilities.
Pros of FSBO
- Sellers can save money on real estate agent commissions, but they’ll still have to pay a real estate agent when used by the buyer.
- Sellers have more control because they don’t have to worry about a real estate agent’s opinions and can dictate their terms.
- Homes can sell quickly because they’re typically sold directly to individuals the seller already knows.
Cons of FSBO
- Sellers still pay a buyer’s real estate agent commission, and many buyers use agents because it comes at absolutely no cost to them.
- Sellers easily over or underprice their homes because they don’t have real estate knowledge or knowledge about the current real estate market and competition.
- Typically sell for less because overpricing can cause houses to linger for too long on the market while underpricing prices them well below the market.
- Harder to generate buzz and find buyers because they don’t have the same resources as real estate agents
- Poor negotiations can lead to underpricing and underselling the home because FSBO sellers don’t have the same types of negotiating power as realtors. Inexperienced sellers may also not verify buyers can pay for the home by checking mortgage pre-approvals.
After weighing the pros and cons of selling without a realtor, you may be curious to learn about the process. If you proceed with this route, you’ll need to avoid pricing your house incorrectly, which means conducting your own local market research and finding listings in your area with the same square footage and features as your home to see how much they sell for.
You’ll also need to take care of your marketing and advertising, which may mean spending money on online and print advertising and marketing strategies like using social media to spread the word about your listing.
Selling With a Realtor
When selling your house with a realtor, you can sit back and let them do all the hard work, including pricing your home, listing it, and advertising the listing. Once you get interested buyers, they’ll also negotiate to help you get the best price for your home. But, of course, this option also comes with many pros and cons.
Pros of Selling With a Realtor
- Realtors sell homes full-time, which means they have the expertise to handle every step of the process, including doing market research and pricing your home, staging it, and negotiating offers without the need for you to get involved. Selling a house is exhausting, and you already have a job, so there’s no need to take on extra work when you don’t have it.
- Agents have access to large networks to help you list your home. Of course, you can list your home yourself on some platforms like Zillow and Redfin, but you don’t have the same professional network as they do. Realtors know other realtors and will try to find buyers through their own networks, allowing you to get more offers.
- One of the most significant advantages of working with a realtor is saving time because they handle the entire process. Of course, you’ll get the final say in how much to price your home for and who you’ll sell it to, but realtors take care of the rest, including all the paperwork once you’ve found a buyer.
- Realtors negotiate every day they work, so they have the right skills to help you get the right price for your home. An experienced selling agent knows all the signs of low-quality buyers and can help you find the right buyer who is willing to pay more for your home. Additionally, before realtors make more money when they sell your home for more, they’re willing to work harder to get you as much as possible for your home.
Cons of Selling With a Realtor
- When you sell your home with a realtor, you’ll have to pay them a commission, which typically ranges from 3-5% of the sale price on the home. Many sellers don’t want to pay this because it can mean giving a realtor tens of thousands of dollars for selling their home, but when you consider how much time and stress they’ve saved you, it’s well worth it.
- Realtors are human, so they may not always accurately price your home even with the help of all of their research. Of course, you may have a difference of opinion with a realtor who wants to sell your home for less than you believe it’s worth. You have the final say in the asking price, but it’s worth it to listen to your realtor because you may be making decisions based on emotions rather than data.
When Should You Sell Without a Realtor?
You can sell your home without a realtor at any time, but it’s typically best to work with a realtor if you don’t have a buyer lined up. If you plan to sell to a friend or family member, you can forgo the realtor and their commission fee because the hard work of finding a buyer is done. Of course, depending on how much you know about the process, you might still want to work with a realtor to finalize the deal.
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.