If you’ve decided to sell your home or property in Huntsville, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about real estate agents.
For many people, the thought of selling your home without a real estate agent is a nightmare. Open houses, closing paperwork, and renovations can be overwhelming, and paying an agent to sell a home is an easy out for some homeowners. Here’s a tip – don’t shoot down selling your house without a realtor so quickly. There are plenty of reasons you might be better off selling your home independently in the current market.
Many areas of the country are experiencing a “hot seller’s market,” where the demand for homes is outpacing the supply. As a result, there is an abundance of bidding wars between buyers. Sellers receive multiple offers, often over the asking price, for houses that may or may not be updated. If you’re selling in an area experiencing this trend, it may be the most cost-effective option to consider selling without a realtor.
We know it can be daunting, but if you utilize available resources for FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sellers, you can make selling a house without an agent a doable task – and one that can help you save money and time. In some instances, hiring a real estate broker or agent can be beneficial and worth paying the commission, but it just doesn’t make sense a lot of the time. It’s wise to take your time considering which category you fall into – after all, 5-6% of the sale price in commission is a lot of money!
Can I Sell My House Without A Realtor?
First things first, is this even possible??
Many first-time homeowners may not be aware that moving forward without sellers’ agents is an option. We’re here to tell you that not only is it possible, but many times, it’s advisable! A Listing agent can no doubt be a valuable person to have around, but it’s in their interest to make you think you can’t have a successful home sale without them. They don’t want you to know that FSBO sellers can still utilize many of the techniques that real estate professionals use to sell properties.
By using tools like the MLS, FSBO sites, and marketing packages, you can be well on your way to getting the most money for your house and expediting the entire process.
The next question is…
Why should you sell your home without a seller’s agent?
The obvious answer is to avoid real estate commissions. They’re the cost of enlisting the help of an agent, and they can get expensive. For agent-assisted home sales in the United States, your own agent will typically charge you a 5-6% commission. In Alabama specifically, the average commission for a real estate agent is…
That’s on the higher end for the country as a whole, and that alone is probably enough to make you think about joining the millions of other FSBO sellers. Still, before we move past commissions, you should know about one tricky bit of protocol for real estate sales.
Traditional real estate transactions are structured to charge 6% of the selling price to the seller in commissions; however, the commission you pay on the sales price doesn’t go directly to your real estate agent. Surprisingly, only half the commission goes to your broker, and the other half goes to…
The buyer’s broker.
We know – It doesn’t make much sense.
Why pay the agent on the other side of the deal?
It seems illogical for the seller to pay the entire cost, but that’s how it typically goes in a home sale; if you decide to go the sale by owner route, keep in mind that if a buyers agent brings you a buyer, they will still expect you to pay them 3% of the sales price.
The flip side of choosing to forego real estate commissions is that it can affect the number of prospective buyers you attract. If a percentage isn’t set aside for their agent, buyers will be far less likely to see your home (much less buy it). To avoid this, you may want to consider offering 2.5-3% to buyers’ agents who bring their clients to show your property. Yes, that means less money in your pocket, but think of it as an investment into the marketing of your home.
(One thing to note: If you choose to include a buyer’s agent commission, you always have the option to offer a better deal for a purchaser who comes without an agent.)
Pricing Your Home
When selling a home without the help of a realtor, accurately pricing your home is vital.
Start by doing a bit of market research. What have comparable homes in the area been going for in recent sales? What’s the average asking price? Try focusing your research on other FSBO homes sold. It’s important to note whether or not the sales price for real estate near your home includes commissions paid. If they do, and you’re selling FSBO, factor this into the value of your own home.
Ridding your transaction of commissions also gives you more room to work within price negotiations. If you need to sell quickly or have trouble attracting potential buyers, you can afford to sell at a slightly lower price now that you don’t have to worry about an agent’s expense.
Don’t overprice your property.
Aiming too high may be the number one mistake sellers make when selling a house without a realtor. The value of a house is often determined by what comparable homes are going for in the area. To accurately price your house, keep in mind the following criteria when identifying similar homes.
What makes a house comparable?
A comparable house should:
- Have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as your property
- Have the same number of stories to your house
- Be of similar size in square footage
- Be in the same neighborhood or a similar nearby neighborhood
- Sold within the last six months. The more recent that it sold, the better.
Don’t forget to consider the exterior finishes of other houses compared to yours (i.e., brick vs. vinyl siding, metal roof vs. architectural shingles, landscaping, etc.).
After finding a comparable house, many websites will still include the listing pictures. Take note of the home’s interior finishes, including kitchen countertops, backsplashes, bathroom countertops, showers, light fixtures, flooring, and paint. A house updated with granite countertops, hardwood flooring, and new tile showers will be worth more than a house with laminate countertops, original carpet, and old showers.
The most common mistake sellers make is believing that their outdated house can and should sell for the same price as the updated house across the street. These unrealistic expectations will often lead sellers to overprice their homes and result in fewer showings and offers.
Don’t lowball your property.
With the above in mind, beware: savvy prospective buyers are well aware of commission protocol. They may expect to take a discount on an FSBO home. They will usually try to use the lack of commissions as a negotiation tool to bring down the price, but remember – if you’re doing an agent’s work, you should get to keep an agent’s pay!
For the most part, unrepresented buyers won’t try to negotiate the buyer’s side commission out of the price for themselves. Usually, this is because they are unaware of any such custom. You are under no obligation to include this in the selling price, so don’t remind them if you don’t want to pay them. Still, don’t be caught off guard if it comes up during the negotiation.
The Multiple Listing Service
Approximately 90% of real estate transactions occur via the MLS.
The MLS works as a database that all real estate agents use to access information about the houses, condos, land, and investment properties currently for sale and data on past sales. Compared to an ad in the newspaper, using the MLS is much cheaper and reaches a broader audience. Most importantly, it puts your home in front of motivated buyers. It is an essential resource that agents use daily, but getting your house listed on the MLS isn’t free.
Consider a Hybrid, Flat Flee Approach
There used to be a requirement that you paid a full commission to get your property listed on the MLS, which made it much more difficult for folks to sell a house without a realtor. Now that more and more transactions take place via the internet, the need for real estate agents is steadily declining.
These days, some listing brokerages will only charge you a flat fee to list your house versus charging a percentage of the sales price. These flat fees allow you to pay a little bit less than the traditional 6% commission and still reap the rewards of a regular MLS listing.
Thanks to different free listing services and social media, FSBO sellers have multiple options to get their properties seen on the internet. To open up their pool of potential buyers, a seller may consider using flatfee.com, a service where you pay a flat fee of a few hundred dollars to get your property on the MLS to be seen by buyers with and without agents. This allows you to maintain complete control of your sale, making it possible for you to decide what sales commission you would be willing to pay the buyer’s agent.
An additional benefit of getting on the MLS is access to many other websites that millions of buyers and sellers constantly visit. Websites like Zillow, Yahoo Homes, and Realtor.com gather data from the MLS to fill their catalogs. Not only buyer’s agents will see your home, but many more potential buyers who browse these sites daily will too.
Of course, these sites are available to FSBO homes that aren’t on the MLS as well. Sites like Zillow won’t even charge you to list – so this is an absolute must if you’re selling your home without a realtor. Remember, a massive audience visits these sites (and it’s essentially a digital open house), so it’s crucial to polish your home’s curb appeal before you list.
Do a deep clean and even give your home’s exterior a fresh coat of paint if feasible. Then, hire a professional photographer to come and take high-quality pictures of the house. Make sure they highlight your home’s selling points well. Often, professional photos can be the difference in getting the best price for your property and the listing becoming stale.
Put It All Together
Combine all this with a detailed description of your home (including a comprehensive list of all your home’s best features) and a realistic price, and you can be well on your way to getting buyers to the front door – even selling your house in less than two weeks.
At the end of the day, selling without an agent is all about getting the word out, which brings us to the next topic…
Most real estate websites offer you the option of additional promotion via packages that get your house extra perks to help with marketing. These packages can ensure that your home gets featured placement at the top of search results and give your listing extra visibility in ads around the web. Your site of choice definitely advises sellers to take advantage of these offers, and we tend to agree. It can be a precious tool for non-agent assisted homes – but be mindful that this won’t guarantee a quick sale.
Advertising can be a gamble.
Selling a house, like any business venture, comes with inherent risk. Sometimes, an open house can be a huge success, but often they turn out to be a waste of time and money. The same can be said of newspaper advertisements, craigslist posts, elaborate signs – it isn’t uncommon for them to be ineffective.
To effectively sell your property on your own, you have to market it well.
Posting flyers around your neighborhood and holding an open house can attract some prospective buyers, but it can be tough selling your home without an agent if it isn’t appealing to most buyers. Part of the reason real estate agents charge big commissions is that they have to spend a lot of money upfront to market your property. If they can advertise for multiple properties simultaneously, it will cost them less overall, and they’ll be more likely to get some bites. That’s why they’re usually pushing for more and more sellers to sell with them.
Some properties can cost an agent thousands of dollars in advertising before the buyer comes along. This is why, if you’re dreading commissions and want to sell without an agent but don’t feel confident in your home’s ability to attract buyers, there’s a third option that can perfectly fit your needs.
If you want to avoid big commissions, doing extensive renovations, and a lengthy selling period, you can go to investors like us and get CASH for your home.
We pay market value for properties – and always give you the final word on the deal. If you’re looking to fast-track and sell your house now, we can even get you the money in as little as seven days!
We know selling a house can be a strenuous task, and the added pressure of dealing with the buyer’s bank, bidding war drama, the title company, and a million other things can be too much.
That’s why we have designed our business around helping people in your situation – and don’t worry about the closing costs – we’ll take care of those as well.
We specialize in providing the solution to your real estate problems.
We’re investors who care about the Huntsville community.