What Does a Real Estate Agent Do?
A real estate agent essentially does four things for his or her commission:
- Lists your house on the real estate portals like Realestate.com.au.
- Markets your house though fliers, advertisements, but now mostly online.
- Facilitates showings of your house and possibly hosts open house events.
- Acts as an intermediary when entering negotiations.
After working with Realtors on several occasions, I decided to try selling a home on my own. Here are the steps to follow if you decide to forego using a real estate agent to sell your home:
How to Be Your Own Real Estate Agent Selling Your Home
- Price Your Home to Sell
Before you decide to list the property, make sure you’ve priced the home competitively. Use the Internet to get an idea of selling prices, but more importantly recent sold property’s, for comparable homes in your neighborhood and then price your house accordingly.
It’s easy to get hung up on this step and, especially if you’ve lived in your home for some time, you may feel compelled to overprice the home. Don’t fall into that trap. Remember, the goal of this process is to sell your home so make sure the asking price is realistic.
- Obtain the Services of a ‘for sale by owner’ Company
There are a number of these types of companies, though only about 2-3 offer all the help, assistance and service that you will need to be successful. Fees for their service can vary quite a lot so be diligent in ensuring you get the best value for your money. They can be found by searching on Google using ‘key words’ like: “sell my house privately”, etc.
- Market Your Property
The company/agency you choose should of course be able to list you on the main real estate portals like, Realestate.com.au etc and in addition to listing the home on these sites offer the option to obtain “for sale” signs etc and creating brochures to market the property. There will be some costs involved in advertising the sale of your home, but they will be a fraction of an agent’s commission and even much less than what an agent will charge as a marketing budget. The real cost for you is the amount of time and energy you’ll need to put into selling your home.
- Hold an Open House
You can also hold an open house to advertise the sale of your home. Advertise for the open house by posting signs in your neighborhood and of course on the real estate websites your property is listed on. Have some light refreshments available and set out brochures about the home that visitors can take with them as they leave.
- Know Your Property’s Selling Points
When writing your ad copy for websites or brochures, make sure to include basic information about the house, including the price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, lot size, location, and of course the specific details that make the house special to potential buyers.
Take a look at other listings on the above websites. You’ll quickly find out that features like granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and oversized windows entice buyers. Determine what’s special about your home and highlight those features in your marketing efforts.
- Prepare to Show Your House
You will have to prepare your house for showings and open house events. Deep-clean the house, including scrubbing the kitchen counters and the appliances, steam cleaning the carpets, cleaning the tiles, and stashing your keepsakes in a closet . The final result should be a home that’s squeaky clean and stripped bare of most personal items.
- Show Your House
Be attentive to what the buyers say or ask and answer their questions honestly. If you don’t know an answer, don’t try to ‘fake’ it. Keep a record of the buyers details so you can follow them up later if need be.
- Perform Your Own Negotiations
Real estate negotiations take the form of a contract that is submitted to the seller. The seller can accept the offer, or revise the contract and submit it to the buyer. The process continues until both parties sign a contract. This should be carried out in liaison with each parties conveyancer/solicitor.
In most states, there is a standard contract for real estate purchases. These contracts can be obtained by contacting a solicitor/conveyancer.
Agents like to close deals quickly so they can get their commission, even if you don’t ultimately receive the price you want for your home. They may even inadvertently relay your negotiating position to the buyer. If you are a distressed seller, that is the last thing you would ever want an enthusiastic buyer to learn. Doing your own negotiating ensures that you do not give away important indications of your financial strengths and weaknesses.
- Comply with All Laws in Your Area
It’s critical that you comply with any known laws in your State related to selling homes. Some laws are universal and will apply to the sale of your home no matter where you live. The Fair Housing Act stipulates that sellers cannot discriminate against buyers for reasons including race, religion, and sex. Contracts and agreements found online can help get you started on the selling process, but remember, those forms aren’t specific to your unique situation. It’s best to have a solicitor/conveyancer review all documents and contracts related to the sale of your home.
Selling a home is not for everyone. Some people will not have the time or the patience to deal with the process. And it’s possible that if the listing price is too low the potential savings might not be worth the time and effort necessary to sell the house without an agent.
Whatever the case, if you are planning to list your home, at least consider the great savings you could enjoy by selling the house on your own. If you know just a little about real estate or just plain sales, and you can put forth the effort to do a good job you can save a tremendous amount of money by selling your own property.