Is it undesirable to sell your own home instead of listing with a real estate agent?

Asked by Naheed, Kingston, Ontario, K7K 6Y1 Thu Jun 28, 2007

In this age of global communication & marketing, if a seller agrees to pay decent commision to the buyer's agent would the listing still annoy the Real Estate agents wanting to list the property??

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Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Thu Jun 28, 2007
Thanks for asking a very good question. Let me offer you a couple of perspectives:
1. From your website you are listing your property at $1.6 million. Your primay goal is to maximize your net profit, right?
2. I am assuming that "brokers are protected" means that you are paying a commission to the selling office (let's say you're paying 3%).
3. I am only guessing, but there are probably more homes selling for $400K than over a million, right. There are fewer people that can afford a million dollar home, so you have fewer buyers, right?

I don't have statistics for Ontario, so these may not apply specifically, but probably do over all:
A. over 90% of the time the buyer is brought to the seller by an agent.
B. Most advertising that sellers selling without representation do is directed towards buyers only. Which is less than 10% of the buyers.
B. Individuals that have the ability to purchase a home for $1.6 million are probably very busy, so time is money. If they ARE looking for a home in your area, do you think they are searching the web everyday, looking for properties sold by unrepresented sellers? Their time is to valuable...they probably have a REALTOR working for them..for them, it's free, right?
C. Is the REALTOR looking for their home spending his/her time looking for unrepresented sellers' listings?
Probably not. Time is money, he or she is probably working with other clients, both buyers and sellers.
D. So who is looking for your home? Probably someone that is looking for a "deal". Most buyer's automatically subtract the commission from the listing price. Do you want to sell your home as a "good deal" or for top dollar?

E. over 90% of sellers who opt to sell their home themselves eventually list it with an agent. Why? Does it make sense to exclude your property from 90% of buyers...and mind you, at $1.6 million, there are probably not too many buyers in your price range.

Are you going to waste money? Naheed, let me ask you. Would you hire an agent with your track record in home sales to list and sell your home?

Lastly, when a lawsuit if filed, 70% of the time it's filed by a buyer that thinks the seller did not disclose material facts. One of the best reasons to use an agent is that they assume a lot of liability when representing you, therefore protecting your from legal entanglements.

Lastly, If you can sell it on your own, go for it. Just remember time is money. Interest rates are going up. That shuts out even more buyers. If you need to sell, then YOU HAVE A TIME PROBLEM. Time is money, rates are going up, so whatever you buy will cost you more.

Oh, and now, I am not annoyed if you want to sell your property yourself. My job is to help my clients make wise decisions. Would I show my clients your property? No, probably not. Why? If I did wind up representing my clients as the buyer's agent, and you did not have an agent, I would be doing twice the work. My time is simply too valuable . And twice the liability. What you are really doing is offer an agent 1.5% , they just get to handle both sides. We make our money on commission. If you were in our shoes, would you want to do twice the work (and probably more than twice the one has been helping you get your homework done, so I'd have to spend much more time working on your disclosures,which although you may be "selling by owner", legally they still need to be completed. Would you work for half rate?

Good luck!
2 votes
Jwright, Home Seller, New York, NY
Fri Jun 29, 2007
As a person who has done two FSBOs, I would like to say a good realtor is worth his or her weight in gold. I also would like to add the realtor exam is not much of a qualificationi. It is not like a bar exam or CPA and nearly anyone good or bad can pass it. Last realtor I used I mistakenly used two part time realtors who could not sell the house. When I am my two MBA brothers put our heads together and decided to tackle selling my Mom's house head on with multiple ads and a back to back all day open house on a prime weekend we got it sold the first weekend for $50,000 more than the realtors highest offer in the prior six months with zero commission. We had to pay $500 in ads and an extra $300 to the our lawyer cause he had more leg work to do and we came out close to $75K better off if we took the realtors best offer. By the way I was selling in a multi cultural neighborhood and I learned that for Mandarian, Spanish, Russian buyers is useless cause it is in English. I place my ads in local papers in their native languages which escaped the thought process of the realtor.
1 vote
J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Fri Jul 6, 2007
Real Estate Agents are self-employed professionals. Their job is to represent the seller and provide a service that surpasses other agents, discount brokerages, and even the seller himself/herself. When they lose a listing to another agency/brokerage - the playing field is even. When a listing is taken by a discount brokerage - somebody loses - and it's not necessarily the agent.

I applaud any one who will take on the job of selling their own home. I have even put myself out there and assisted a FSBO with the very least I could - with valuable advice!

As in any situation - the consumer gets what the consumer pays for. There are some feel good stories of how people sold their own property - but for every feel good story there is a seller who has missed a buyer because of the lack of exposure an agent/brokerage can bring.

Listing on the MLS is a service provided by discount brokerages - but an agent surpasses this medium. Caravans, Luncheons, in-house and outside agency flyers and e-mails. Does a discount brokerage advertise to local businesses?

The agent does the footwork - and shares the benefits to the seller, buyer, and their own brokerage.

The commission a seller agrees to pay to the buyer's agent is really a moot point. How does that buyer find the FSBO in the first place?
0 votes
Troy, , Mercer County, NJ
Sat Jun 30, 2007
You will undoubtably get positive and negative feedback on both options, but hopefully I can be impartial with my response.
I am a Realtor and I would always list my home with a Realtor, and if I was to be moving to a new area I would use a local Realtor to find my home. You simply need to do your homework and selct a realtor, not just use a family friend or the name you see on a local sign. You will want to choose a "full time" Realtor who's only job is real not be fooled by professional designations after thier name....these people are more into promoting themselves then your home. Best advice is to walk into a local office, big or small, ask for the broker....tell him or her that you want thier best full time agent to sell your home.....if there is any hesitation you are in the wrong office. Any broker worth anything will be able to give you the name of thier best agent without hesitation. They should be tech savvy and experienced.


They say only a fool has himself as a client, just as an attorney will rarely defend themselves, selling a home yourself could easily cost you more then the couple of percentage points a realor charges.

You are correct that in the world of global communications and marketing you will be able to advertise your home to a lot of people, but you still will not be able to post on and trulia and aol real estate and yahoo real estate and most sites that people think is available to them.

If your area has an abundant of homes available, like most of the country, then even if you are paying a buyers broker, it doesn't necessarily come down to commission, the work load and uncertainty of dealing with someone who may not know anything about the process is not an attractive proposal.

In conclusion should you decide not to use a professional to sell your home then I would recommend you retain an attorney to represent your interests, as there are many unscrupulous people that prey on unrepresented people.

But in closing I would say again, do not fool yourself that by offering a buyers commission will bring agents to show your home....and even though we do live in a global communication and marketing world.....most websites are still not open to private listings.

Best of luck to you.
0 votes
Joshua Jarvis, Agent, Duluth, GA
Thu Jun 28, 2007
As answered in other Trulia questions, there is no doubt that agents (GOOD ONES) bring in more offers for more money. If most buyers are working with Agents, then why would the agent want to have to "dig" to find your home (not on the MLS) when they have some to choose from. If you are in a hot market (hard to think a 1.6 Million Dollar home as HOT) then you can sometimes get away with it.

Look at Discount brokers, even their website post that FSBO net up to 26% less.

As for auctions, auctions atract investors. If you're wanting a fire sale, use an auction. Think of where auctions are used outside of real estate. Ebay to sell off unwanted goods, estates to sell of unwanted goods... is your home an unwanted item? Not the image to present to potential buyers.

Although a bit lengthy, I nominated Keith's answer as the best.
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0 votes
Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Thu Jun 28, 2007
Why on earth would you want to tell the world you want to sell your house for a bargain. I know that is not your intent, but believe me, that's what you say when you put a FSBO sign in your yard. Every time I have a buyer in the car that's what they say. What's the deal on that one (because I don't have any info on it) I bet we could get it for a bargain because they're not paying any commission. To you that means the buyers are taking off 6-10% of your price or more before they even look at it. Kind of a catch 22, as if you add 10% to the price you want to take advantage of that thought process, then they'll say you're out of touch with reality and not want to look at the house. I think if you're going to offer to pay a decent commission, then just go ahead and get a Realtor to work for you, instead of against you.
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Mary G. Kann…, , 10950
Thu Jun 28, 2007
If the seller is comfortable with all of the pitfalls of listing and selling his own home, that's his right. However, there are many positive reasons to enlist the services of a professional real estate agent to do the job. When the seller is not at home to answer calls and make appointments, it effectively means that the house is not on the market. How will the house be sold? Who will pay for the extensive marketing needed in this current market? Who will assist with negotiations? Good luck!
0 votes
Adelina Rotar, Agent, Knoxville, TN
Thu Jun 28, 2007
I don't think it would annoy another real estate agent...

However, there are still things to consider. How many buyers will see your house? If 5 buyers get to see your house, versus 30 buyers...which one do you think may result in a better offer? Also, advertising--who will see your house is for sale? Will it be just the people that drive by and see your sign? Those are bad odds of securing a buyer that will pay you what your house is worth. For a buyer, all a for sale by owner means is that they expect to get the house for a much lower price--- Studies show that using a Realtor from the beginning will help you sell your house for more even with paying commission and it will typically sell in a quicker time.

Even if you are willing to pay a buyer's agent, your losing out on a lot of buyers that may be interested in your property. Imagine having an auction with 5 people instead of 30 people...the auction with 30 people will probably turn out a higher price on the auctioned items....

Good luck...

Adelina Rotar
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