Home Buying in Big Lake>Question Details

T.O., Home Owner in 55309

For Sale by Owner vs. Real Estate Agent?

Asked by T.O., 55309 Fri Feb 22, 2013

We have been needing to move for over 3 years now to be closer to my husbands job. We've been waiting for the home prices to come back up, but it doesn't seem to be enough. We had a CMA done on our home and we're still underwater. We're willing to bring come cash to the table to get out of this house, but if we use a realtor, we will have to come up with even more. I find it crazy that an agent gets 6%. We've sold 2 homes on our own before and it was a smooth, easy process, but that was 2001 and 2005. Can you tell me exactly why we should use an agent?? Also, are there any agents out there willing to negotiate on their commission?

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Donald James’ answer
It sounds like you need some expert advice on your side. Are you really underwater? Home prices in many parts of MN were up over 12% in the past year and are trending upward. Demand is increasing while supply is decreasing. This can only lead to higher prices to balance the equation.

Is there any forgiveness in your present mortgage? I have had clients close on a short sale and their new house on the same day.

Why should you use an agent? Generally your house will sell for more money than a FSBO. If you try it yourself you will still have to pay out at least 2.7% to the buyer's Realtor. So now you may save 3.0%. Ask yourself, for that 3%, can you effectively market your home. Can you list it on multiple websites? Can you host a broker's open so all local Realtors can see your home? Can you pre-qualify everyone who comes to see your home? Are they really potential buyers? Nosy neighbors? A thief casing the place? Are you willing and able to stay home weekends to host open houses? How much will it cost you to have an attorney draw up the necessary contracts? Will you know if the title company is doing a good job for you? Have you visited your competition so see how your listing stacks up against theirs?

Besides the CMA your Realtor should offer to do a Price / Trend Analysis to see when your house will hit your break point.

There are dozens more items that your professional Realtor will do for you. Most clients measure the bottom line and realize they are getting a lot of value and service (or should be) for the money.
Web Reference: http://www.mywra.net
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
This is simply inaccurate. If selling FSBO, you don't need a realtor to purchase it, and quite frequently, buyers don't. Also, even if the buyer does have an agent, depending on the agreement, the fee comes from the buyer!
Flag Thu May 22, 2014

I do not work in Florida but I can say this. A great agent will market your home and help to bring pre-qualified people to your home negotiating the best possible price. Handle the contracts etc. I would have interview 3 agents and get a CMA done. If you want to sell your home yourself you can.
Best of luck,

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
I have no idea how aggressive the market is currently in your neighborhood, here in South Florida CMAs do not rule our market anymore, a very large number of properties are selling above asking price. If there is a lack of inventory in your neighborhood and there is a large number of potential Buyers your home may sell well above what has been estimated on the CMA. Find a local expert and give it a try.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
Hi, T.O!
Well, without throwing my colleagues under the bus here, it's been done and done successfully by many home owners/sellers! What it boils down to is our time and expertise. This is our full time job. We are educated about the regulations of our industry that must be adhered to in a real estate transaction and many sellers are not.

As long as you're willing to be educated about all of the things that put you at risk from a legal standpoint to keep yourself out of trouble, market your home, be responsible for security, deal with the buyer's agent who IS licensed and knows what to do, but is NOT representing your best interests, then go for it.

You also might consider asking an agent to give you a break if you allow them to be your agent on the purchase of your next place. That way, they will have a stake in seeing to it that your sale goes properly. It's just an idea, but you have to know that our time and expertise is just as important and valuable to us as your time and expertise is valuable to you on your job.

I'm relieved on your behalf that you've had 2 transactions that didn't become problematic. I tell people to ask themselves this question, "Would you take on the responsibility of selling your neighbor's house and cover any liability that might come up?" If the answer is no, then why are you willing to take that risk with your own valuable asset? If it's yes, then maybe you should consider a career in real estate! :D Sounds like you'd be good at it.
My caution to you and everyone that asks these types of questions: "It's not a problem, until it IS!"

Good luck and wish you the best in being able to move on!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 4, 2013
There are agents willing to negotiate commission based on the needs of their clients. Many times, short sales are a difficult and tedious process which involves a lot of work and are very time consuming. An experienced real estate agent will work with the bank, title company/attorney, Buyer, you, etc. every day to make sure things are going smoothly. It is less stress on you in the long run to hire an agent that you trust to make sure you and your family are taken care of.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2013
I will just be straight with you, because honestly you are a testimonial that is CAN WORK selling your home FSBO. It also shows that when you are in a seller's market it is easier to go FSBO than in a buyer's market. Now whether I could have sold your house for MORE THAN YOU DID is completely subjective, and really in the end I bet you were happy with the sale because you agreed.

So what it really comes down to if we are all being honest with each-other is what will produce you the HIGHEST NET. Selling your home is about making money, or in your case trying to break even or not bring a lot of money to the closing table. If you can do it better than me then I tip my hat off to you.

For me my time is involved, and I know what I am worth and that is it. People like you though time does not matter and that can be a big difference between our views on using a Realtor. It is not that much different than DIY people who like remodeling instead of hiring a contractor. Although in my world a good realtor can be the difference in thousands of dollars in price negotiations and good marketing.

My business philosophy is all about solving problems in real estate and creating win-wins. For those underwater or close to it I don't let my commission get in the way of a sale and moving on. That to me is just not good business. If you get in contact with me we can explore a lower commission structure that will work for both sides.

And I will also do even better and just consider purchasing your home and avoiding Realtor fees altogether. I run an investment firm alongside my Realtor business to help in unique situations such as these. My main job is to provide debt relief, and I have found that my options are usually much better than a short sale or traditional sale like this.

You will only know if you get in contact with me. It never hurts to explore your options.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 23, 2013
In this tight economy, it can be really hard to just "hand over" 6% of your selling price. That is understandable and you have a valid concern. But... realtors do more than just find a buyer and meet you at the closing. Consider these:

Advertising: They cover all of the cost of the advertising. That includes internet listings (including membership costs), MLS submission (so all other realtors know your house is for sale), newspapers (have you checked in how expensive a color display ad is lately) and in real estate trade journals (like the "free" brochures you see at restaurants etc). This in itself can add up to thousands of dollars if done correctly.

Risk Reduction: We live in the USA where freedom is a guaranteed right - including the right to sue your pants off for any little thing. You fail to disclose that because your house was built in the 1950's you may or may not have lead paint in your house. Buyer has a baby. Baby chews on the window sill and swallows a paint chip. Homeowner freaks and sues you... and wins. You now owe over $30,000 in court costs, attorney fees, doctor bills and repainting costs. You are faced with all of this just because you didn't know about the Lead Disclosure Form. Aren't you glad your Realtor does? This is just one of the ways your Realtor will reduce your risk of lawsuit.

Arms-Length Transactions: You love your house. The buyer is complaining about every little thing. You take it personal. Sounds like this could cause a problem if you were handling the sale by yourself. Instead, your trained Realtor works as a go between to reduce the stress of dealing with buyer demands.

These are just a few of the reasons why we pay commissions to Realtors. In the end, though you pay 6% to the Realtor and maybe another 2 - 4% at closing, you will walk away with 90% and the peace of knowing that this transaction is closed properly and will not come back to haunt you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
Commission is generally always negotiable. How much so really depends on the agent, and how well you negotiate.

If you've sold your house before by owner - and are comfortable doing so - then you don't "need" to use an agent. It's really a matter of convenience. You could spend endless hours taking pictures, pulling comps, coordinating showings, putting your property on various websites, and spending lots of money upfront ...

Or you could let a professional do it for you so you can focus on what YOU do.

If you have the time, and energy to do it - then by all means go for it. Most people don't - and that's why there are so many real estate agents in business.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
"An" agent doesn't actually get 6%. They have to split that four ways (between both agencies, and both Realtors)... Of course that doesn't make it any less painful to you, the seller.... you're forking over that percentage in order for the agency to market your home.

Studies have shown that properties marketed by professional Realtors get more exposure, and thereby a larger sale price, typically more than the percentage you pay the agent/agency... so it pays for itself.

Are there agents out there who are willing to negotiate? Yes, there are... Commission, by law, has to be negotiable... but that doesn't mean that every agent will negotiate his/her commission.

Interview a handful of agents, and ask the question... but it's not the only aspect that should be taken into consideration. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
If you Shortsale your house, you will not need to pay any commission.
You should consult with a Realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
We are not interested in doing a short sale. Seems to many people have relied on this as a way out thus contributing to keeping our home values low.
Flag Fri Feb 22, 2013
There are always agents out there that are willing to negotiate their commission. But if you did a for sale by owner before in 2001 and 2005 then you should be able to do it today. Not much has changed as far as paperwork.

Another option is for you to list your home yourself but be willing to pay an agent a commission for bringing you a buyer. I have seen many for sale by owners advertise that "Buyers Agents are Welcome"
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 22, 2013
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