I Don't Want a Listing Agent, But You Can Bring Me a Buyer
When I first got my license I remember vividly talking with acquaintances who wanted to sell, but didn't want to hire me to list their home. In their mind, I could still get a piece of the action by bringing them a buyer. They had no idea that the odds of me finding a buyer for their particular home were nil if I didn't market their home. And what buyer's agent is going to market a home, listed by another agent?
Now, hearing sellers tell me that they don't want to hire me, or any listing agent, but if I bring them a buyer they will pay me, brings the same feeling of frustration. Nowadays, I can shrug it off with a cynical laugh that is really saying, "Good luck buddy." Nonetheless, when a real estate professional hears the words, "I'll pay you if you bring me a buyer, but I'm not hiring you to sell my home," it makes us want to explain that the odds of success in that ideology are slim to none. And even if you happen to nab a buyer, you may still be on the losing end of negotiations.
When we are hired as listing agents, we know that we will get paid to sell your home. Therefore, we invest our time, talent and budget into marketing your home. We get to you know the features of your home, what makes it unique, photograph it and spread the word through marketing and networking with fellow agents. THIS is the activity that brings in the buyers.
Telling random real estate agents you meet that you want to sell your house, aren't interested in listing it, yet you want us to bring you a buyer is like asking, "Go market my house without any promise of being paid. See if you can find me a buyer, because I don't know how and certainly don't want to spend the money to hire a professional to do that."
To a professional real estate agent, it is downright insulting. It is almost like asking a caterer how they put on an event, getting recipes and then asking them for supplies, but telling them you will only pay them if they event turns out exactly how you wanted. Because let's face it, when you are asking agents to bring you buyers, you may not get offers you like. We, at that point in time, have been hired by the buyer to find a home for them at price and terms suitable to them. You as a seller, hanging out there all by yourself, are left to negotiate and try to determine market conditions, on your own. Sure you can use Zillow or Trulia to help you figure out market conditions and a reasonable price for your firm, but we agents know their automated home valuations are rarely on the mark.
And even in a seller's market, a local agent with lots of buyer leads considers your For Sale By Owner their best kept secret. You may think exposure to the Internet is all you need, but a buyer searching online sees the difference a professional presentation by a local real estate agent and these are the listings that draw them in. Your raw photos aren't drawing in the consumer. And if they ever get to your blathering description of your home, buyers will feel you are too attached to your home to ever reasonably negotiate with. It will take convincing on our part to get our buyers through the door if your lure isn't shiny enough.
If you want to sell your house, hire a listing agent. They will be on your side and interpret market data for you. They are seeing your competition through the eyes of buyers, not the wishful eyes of a seller who can see no wrong in their own home. They can help you market your home from staging to photographing and describing it in a way that draws the buyers in. When an offer comes in, they will help you negotiate the best deal possible, and navigate through inspections and other contingencies. After all, getting a buyer on the hook is only the first step. Getting the home to settlement takes a well coordinated dance between seller and buyer. Without the lead of an agent, you may give away too much at the negotiating table, or miss deadlines, thus opening yourself up to a buyer voiding the contract. That means starting the process of finding a buyer all over again.
Go ahead and tell me you'll pay me to bring you a buyer, and aren't interested in hiring me to list your home. That tells me you are penny wise and pound foolish.. The job of a listing agent and a buyer's agent could not be more different. If you want someone out there on your behalf, you need a listing agent.