For Sale By Owner - Hang On It’s Going To Be A Bumpy Ride
Selling your home without hiring a Realtor® is not something I’d ever recommend – even before I became an agent I would never attempt to buy or sell a home on my own. There are far too many details that go into selling a home and while you might be able to get to closing I can guarantee you an agent who is a local expert with a successful track record will do a better job and get a higher sale price, better terms, or a combination of the two.
We recently represented a purchaser on a for sale by owner listing and I was heavily involved with the agent who works with me because the sellers unfortunately didn’t understand that we did not represent them. Cue the bumpy ride – the owners on this particular home didn’t have a scanner or fax and were appalled I wouldn’t agree to make all the counter changes they wanted and send everything to them via DocuSign. I explained we offer our systems, tools, and expertise to our clients but, because we do not represent them we would not be handling anything regarding the counter they were delivering. We made it through all that and eventually ratified but, what normally takes a day took just shy of a week to accomplish.
Next came arranging the home inspection. Both were adamant about being present despite my attempts to explain it's best they not be home for the inspection. We were also greeted at the door with their dog who was loose in the house. Could he be contained while we were there? Absolutely not, I was scolded for even asking. Every time the inspector went to talk to the buyers he was interrupted with some sort of justification X wasn't wrong. We made it through nonetheless.
The appraiser called the owners to schedule his visit and was asked to contact us to schedule an appointment. I contacted the sellers and “because the appraisal is for the buyer it’s not our problem to meet him” was what I heard. Again, I explained that the listing agent meets the appraiser and because they don’t have an agent it would be their responsibility. There’s also no lockbox on the home so we didn’t have a way to let the appraiser in even if we did agree to meet him. When the appraisal came in low the owners accused us of paying the appraiser off to deliver a low value. It took a couple days and a lot of phone calls to calm that situation down.
The owner emailed my agent daily asking what the next steps were in the transaction. We asked when the HOA documents would be in and they hadn’t placed the order. In turn she had to pay to expedite them in order for them to be completed before closing. The termite inspection wouldn’t have been ordered if we didn’t remind her to contact a company to schedule an appointment. When we arrived for the walk through there were a ton of items still in the home - it took a lot of convincing that everything had to be gone by the day of closing. They were planning on "taking care of it within a week after closing." YIKES! I could keep writing about other things that came up during this transaction but, I think it’s clear that the ride would have been a lot smoother had these owners hired an agent to represent them.
Are agents perfect? Far from it, like any other profession there are bad apples but, if you do your research and hire an agent with a proven successful track record you wouldn’t have to worry about any of these items because they’d be guiding you through each step of the transaction. The real estate market is constantly changing and it takes far more to sell a home than just putting a sign in the yard. Be prepared to do a lot of work and be responsible for a substantial amount of details if you plan to sell your own home. You'll also want to have the right systems in place to make the transaction happen.
For sale by owner – pull up your boot straps, it could be a bumpy ride!