Most sellers in the Augusta Maine area don't hesitate to list with a professional real estate agent in 2012 – especially in the current Buyer’s Market where Maine home sellers need all the leverage they can get! On the Buyer’s side, however, the idea of shopping for homes For Sale By Owner (FSBOs) and potentially “saving the commission” can be alluring. There is a problem with that theory however: the Seller’s purpose in “going FSBO” is generally to save the commission. And you can save the same commission twice”, not even in the Capital City. That monkey math only flies in the State House!
It's worth a closer look at some of the tradeoffs, both benefits and risks, that may accompany this kind of sale.The most commonly held belief (and it’s nearly universal among new buyers) is that buying homes for sale by owner means coming away with “a deal”. And who doesn’t want a deal? Another common notion is the idea that homes For Sale By Owner result in a quicker and smoother transaction because there is no ‘middleman’ involved. After all, since you can deal directly with the owner, wouldn’t the inclusion of a professional Augusta area real estate agent take extra time and effort? This scenario is vastly more likely if the sale involves an owner experienced in selling real estate -- who also has no emotional attachment to his property.
Occasionally a Buyer will come to me and ask me to represent them in a “FSBO” purchase. Typically what I find is that the FSBO’s asking price is significantly ABOVE going market value. Why? The Sellers have not had a professional opinion of value performed by a licensed Maine real estate appraiser or local Kennebec County real estate agent. Often times, Sellers will base their list price on what they need or want rather than market value. Or they will base their price on what other homes are “listed for rather than selling for” and eventually join the ranks of the dreaded “Expired List” which other overpriced properties.
Other factors that can hinder a transaction are articulated by writer Susan Brown, “Home owners may be reluctant to lower the asking price of a home due to repairs or other problems.” And the emotional connection with a property can trump even self-interest. As Brown writes, “The owner of a home is also more personally connected to the property than a real estate agent would be and thus may be more sensitive to any form of critique that the buyer could make.” In the world of homes For Sale By Owner, ‘sensitive’ can be an understatement. Experienced real estate agents are equipped to remain objective and keep the goal of consummating the transaction to the satisfaction of both parties the focus of communication. Good realtors are also trained to keep emotion is kept at bay.
But there is another major drawback that face buyers of homes For Sale By Owner: one with both time and cost dimensions. When Buyers are representing themselves, they will be shouldering the responsibility and sheer hassle of handling the necessary paperwork, inspections, and disclosures alone on the largest financial investment they will make. Seeing that these duties are performed fully and professionally while costs are kept to a minimum is either a job for an experienced professional -- or someone with lots of time on his hands!
Buying homes in Augusta, Maine For Sale By Owner may not be quite the no-brainer it seems…nor may the anticipated savings measure up. It could end up being more expensive. All this to point out a more solid no-brainer: if you are considering buying or selling a home in the Augusta Maine area, why not give me a call for a consultation?