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For Sale By Owner – Not Smart To Take On The Burden Yourself
If you ask anybody about politics, they would feel that they have it all figured out. Everybody will think that they have the best idea of how a country should be run. The irony is that veteran politicians who have spent 20 or 30 years in politics can still make mistakes and admit to them to the public.
So what makes anyone who has basically no experience in policy making think that he is a true expert in public policies? It is because everyone watches the news on television or read about them in the papers. This makes everybody experts. Well good luck when you have to make a call when pushed to the brink of launching a nuclear strike.
There is a section in the property listings named “For Sale By Owners”. FSBO in short. This section contains listing of homes whereby the owners have decided to sell their homes themselves. Because they have lived in it for years and are following real estate news regularly, they feel that they are more than qualified to sell properties. There cannot be a bigger injustice to the real estate profession.
Home owners decide to sell their own homes for many reasons. But the most probable ones are:
- They think that an agent is overpaid and underworked
- They think that all an agent brings to the table is a telephone and the listing directory
- They believe that they can make more money while paying less
- They think that with a hot market, selling a home is easy
- They think that hiring an agent is just adding another layer to the whole process.
A common reason for going FSBO is that the owners truly believe that they can save some money from the commission that would have been paid to the property agent. But guess what? Buyers who come to you will think of the same thing in their favour. They would think that if there is no agent, you would be more receptive to a lower price. In essence, you are giving them an extra weapon to use in combat before the battle even began.
Now of course there are agents in the market who only cares about closing in whatever terms, in as short a time as possible. They are the ones who tell you there is no offer on the table when there actually is one. Just that he does not want to close at a low price. They are the ones who talk secretly to a buyer’s agent on what is the lowest price you would accept. They are the ones who refuse to inform you about the last minute higher bid that came in before you accepted an inferior offer. This so that they can close with more certainty. They are the ones who consistently mislead other home buyers to visit your open house so as to expand their database of leads. They are the ones who refer you to expensive mortgages and legal firms so that they make a tidy commission off you even after a sale where they have been properly remunerated. They are the ones who astonishingly advise you to seriously consider a lowball offer that is so low it would make a baby cry.
So why after the exhaustive list above would anyone still want to hire a selling agent? Because there are also good ones who take care of you like an orientation officer from human resource. What can the good guys do for you?
They prepare your house for sale in the best possible aesthetic condition. They market your properties in channels where you didn’t know existed. They have existing buyers on hand who might just already be willing to accept your terms. They prepare all the documentation to follow through on the deal. They resolve any paperwork issues that is preventing you from going ahead with selling. They pre-empt you on what is going to happen, what might happen, and what will eventually happen. This saves you from heart-in-mouth moments where you lose your voice. They negotiated terms in your favour and stand firm on avoiding detrimental ones. They advise on common protection and remedies to keep you out of trouble.
Everybody will have their own reasons and justification on whether to hire a selling agent or not. If you have already decided to hire one, here are some of the fair expectations you can put on their shoulders.
- A personal and professional opinion on resale value if a savvy buyer’s intention is to flip it. Bear in mind that a professional opinion is not the same as a personal opinion. A professional opinion could be that Manchester United would win the English Premier League this year. A personal opinion could be that Tottenham Hotspur would win it. I just find it irritating if an agent is working for me and has “no comment”, “no opinion”, or is “neutral”.
- A professional and personal opinion on buyers offers. He should tell you what you want to hear and what you should hear.
- An unbiased opinion on the best mortgage based on good value rather than convenience and higher commissions. You can easily find out if your agent is leading you on by checking interest rates in the market via a broker.
- A professional description, photographs, and video of the property to be used for listing services.
- Regular updates on follow ups he has conducted with visiting prospects to your open house.
- Truthful update on prospect’s and buying agent’s feedback.
- Firm negotiation skills that will not offend buyers or create an awkward transaction.
- A proactive approach to defend your interest when any third party attempts to have you for dinner.
- Able to take you through the transaction process in a timely and efficient manner.
If you look at it this way, the biggest organisations in the world hire agents to get things done. They could be in the form of travel agents, merchandising agents, hiring agents, outsourcing agents, logistics agents, investment agents, etc. There must be a reason they do so. Even actors, footballers, authors, and struggling celebrities work via agents. It’s because these professionals get things done better and faster than if you are to do all the work yourself. Why carry all the burden yourself.