Selling "by owner"

Real Estate Agent with Signature Realty Associates

Many Tampa area home owners try to sell their homes by themselves. In a fast paced market like we had here in Hillsborough county the last few years, that was not a bad route to go. However, times have changed, and homes aren't selling as quickly as they once were.

Home owners selling by themselves face a much more difficult task in order to sell their homes now. Many don't know how to properly price their home. Even more sellers don't know the legal aspects of selling their home-meaning a mistake could cost them dearly.

The first few weeks the interest in the home is mostly from "curious" neighbors, agents wanting to list the home, and people looking for a bargain. The number of serious buyers driving around wanting to buy a home they see being sold by the owner is small. Most serious buyers have an agent working for them and unless the buyers drive by the home being offered for sale by the owner, then it goes unnoticed.

Does the home owner know how to effectively market their home besides placing a sign in their yard? Do they know how to hold an open house and deal with the people who come to it? What happens when the first 3 or 4 weeks pass by and the calls stop?

Some home owners will use either a company who will help market the home for an upfront fee or pay a fee to an agent to have the home listed in the MLS. The home owners have to understand that they need to be available to answer their phone at all times and also be available to show their home at any time of the day to potential buyers. If they can't be available that often, then they will lose out on potential buyers.

If a home owner does find a buyer, then the most important aspect of the home selling process comes into play: the legal part. Does the owner know how to fill out the disclosures, offer/counteroffer, contract, etc.? If a buyer has a real estate agent, then the home seller is dealing with a professional. It's not unlike having a defendant represent themselves and going up against the professionally trained and educated prosecutor. We know how that usually turns out.

If a mistake is made on the part of the home owner, it can cause lawsuits and cost thousands of dollars. How does the home owner know that the price they are selling at is a market going price? The buyer's agent will more than likely know. So again, the home owner could lose thousands of dollars by selling too low. Trying to save money by not hiring an agent to sell their home could cost much more than paying the agent's commission (and receiving professional representation). 

Selling a home "by owner" can be done. Just remember there are around 15,000+ homes for sale in Hillsborough county daily. The money a home owner thinks he/she will save by not paying a commission to an agent can be much less than they think. Facing those odds, dealing with the calls, availability, and legal aspects, think it through carefully before passing on hiring an agent to sell your home. 


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R. Bills
Keller Williams Realty - Brandon, FL
Great post Teresa. Many home owners who want to sell on their own may benefit from reading this post.
Jul 29, 2007 11:53 AM #1
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Teresa Bills

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