I recently sold my home more or less by myself after first trying a listing with a full service agent. The second time around, I used a flat fee Real estate agent (cost me $600) to get my listing on the MLS, Trulia, Realtor.com and other sites. The plan I chose allowed me to sell on my own if I was able to find my own unrepresented buyer (and not pay additional commissions if successful) as well as to specify that I was willing to work with buyers agents (for a commission percentage of my choosing.........I chose to offer 3.5% to get the attention of buyer's agents) Eliminating half the commission (or potentially all of it) allowed me to price my home more attractively. I got lucky, and found a buyer who was not working with a realtor right off the bat and had a signed contract 3 weeks into the listing. Notice that I acknowledged the role of luck!
I have to warn you, though, that this approach is not for the feint of heart, the lazy, or anyone who is uncomfortable negotiating with others. It will take a lot of effort on your part. There were definitely times where it would have been a huge help to have some professional advice, and I definitely can see the value of a "good" realtor.
The reason I went the flat fee route was that I realized that there was a gap between what I wanted to net on the sale and what most buyers wanted to pay, and that gap was generally an amount equal to the commissions involved. A flat-fee/ partial-FSBO listing allowed me to narrow that gap and get together with a buyer at a price we could both live with.
If you decide to go the same route I did, here are some suggestions:
1) You need to overcome what I call the "angry FSBO syndrome" This is the greedy/angry guy who wants top dollar for his home and wants to keep every penny for himself. He can easily be spotted by the sign in the front yard. If he spent less than $9.99 on the sign, or the sign makes you afraid to even call and ask the price, he is likely an "angry FSBO"
I had a multi-colored custom professional sign and stand with info box made for me (cost me $200) and I put my asking price inside a star-burst on the sign along with my phone number and a web address (I made my own website for the home) I can't for the life of me figure out why nobody else lists an asking price on their signs.
2)Take a ton of good quality pictures and be sure to show off the home's best features. It is important not to lie with the camera (no fish-eye lenses please). If you make rooms look bigger in the photos than they are in real life, the first reaction a would-be buyer will have is a feeling of being let down. It is better to under-promise and out-perform in my opinion.
3)Get a mini storage and get rid of all your clutter. Take down personal photos and mementos, etc.
Buyers want to picture themselves living in the home, and your "stuff" will cloud that vision.
4)Get a large safety deposit box and stow all your valuables and important papers there. That way you can be comfortable allowing strangers into your home.
5)Be ready to show the home at a moments notice (keep it clean), and get the heck out when someone is viewing the home (it makes the buyers feel uncomfortable and unable to picture it as "their" new home when you are hanging over their shoulder.
6)We always hear that the 3 most important things are "location", "location", "location"
The next three important things are "Price", "Price", "Price". You can't change the location, you can change the price. Price it right, don't get greedy, and it will sell.....quickly.
7) I don't want to hog the airwaves, so I'll leave it at "6"
Good luck selling your home
When you look for the right professional, keep in mind it is not necessarily the one who gives you the highest market price-- that agent may be telling you what you want to hear just to get the listing-- a smart & seasoned professional will not only give you the comps-- comparable properties on the market today-- but they will also give you the sold comparables (within less than 12 months).
one last suggestion... when you interview these potential agents, know that you will be spending quite a bit of time with this individual-- it should be someone you like and feel comfortable with. Bottom line-- you want a knowledgable, experienced, successful, smart agent who is a pleasure to work with.
then leave the rest to her/him!
The long and short of it is that Trulia has been a wonderful marketing tool used by agents as well as terrific for grabbing the attention of buyers who are searching.
REALTORS pay for advertising that in turn forwards us information from people who are looking at many homes, including ones that are listed on other sites such as FOR SALE BY OWNER sites.
Professional REALTORS who are helping a client find a home also will "require" as much information from a "for sale by owner" as if we were listing the home from scratch which in turn requires a commission in order to close the deal.
While it is not impossible to sell your home yourself, statistics show REALTORS sell more quickly and for more money because we are able to see what other similar properties are listed and sold for. While we are only able to assist you price your home it is ultimately up to you where you want to price it... might as well have us do all the work from the start instead of all of the paperwork at the end!
My advice to you is to talk to the agent you have contacted or have been contacted by (most likely via Trulia) and ask how he or she can help you sell your home since you are already using them to buy a home. We are here to help so if we understand your complete needs...WE WILL HELP!