Buying or selling a home requires a professional REALTOR

The economy is strong, unemployment is low, and home prices on the rise. The demand from buyers is still strong and inventory is increasing. These indicators are very tempting for some sellers. They see the strength of the market and houses selling quickly. As a result, they are tempted to try to sell their homes on their own rather than using the services of a real estate professional.

Realtors are highly trained in the laws and requirements of selling houses. There are many moving parts to selling a house, many laws to abide by, and several potential pit falls along the way. Realtors are experienced in these areas as well as negotiations. While, in most cases, the seller is not. Sellers must realize that their ability to negotiate the deal and navigate the legal aspects of a sale, will determine whether or not they get the best deal for themselves and their families, and if they are positioning themselves for litigation.

My intent is not to frighten anyone with the thought of potential litigation, but the laws are very clear and direct when it comes to such a large financial transaction. There are many regulations and laws governing the sale of a home, and ignorance of a law is not an accepted defense. So, if you intentionally or inadvertently break one of these laws or regulations, you are opening yourself up for potential litigation.

As an example: Let’s say that at one time, while you owned the home or before you owned the home, you knew there was flood damage. If you do not disclose all material facts pertaining to the home, and the buyer later on discovers that you knew, you are liable.

If you decide to do FSBO, here is a short list of the people the seller must be prepared to negotiate with:

The Buyer. The buyer is going to want the best deal possible. If a buyer is unrepresented, then they will want to you to discount the house by 6%, which is what you would have paid in commissions had you listed with a Realtor. If they are represented by a Realtor , then they will want a discount of 3%, which is the selling agents commission.

The Buyer’s Realtor. The buyers Realtor has only one duty: To solely represent the best interests of their client. You the seller are not their client.

The Home Inspection Company. These companies inspect your home from top to bottom, and the access and timeframe are strictly governed by law. The inspector will always find things wrong with your home, that’s their job. How you handle the inspection and the results are critical.

The Termite Inspector. If the inspector finds evidence of termites, how do you handle it. If you intentionally cleared any evidence of termites, but know you have termites, and you fail to disclose, you are liable. Also, who pays for the termite treatment.

The Buyer’s Lender. Are you good enough to look at a potential deal and know if it is a solid finance deal. Do you know what to ask the lender? Are you legally able to ask these questions. One of the scariest parts of a real estate transaction is the financing. As Realtors, the lender has to speak with us and give us weekly updates on the loan process.

The Appraiser. Do you know how to properly provide an appraiser with comps to substantiate your sales price? Do you know how to properly question an appraisal? What happens if the home does not appraise for the sale price?

The Title Company. Hiring the right Title Company is critical to the process. Realtors usually are able to negotiate the title fees for their clients. Remember, they deal with the title company frequently and have strong relationships.

The City, Town or Municipality. If you need to get copies of permits, or if the county records do not match your information, or if there were additions to the property that may not have been permitted, you must know who and how to deal with. I’ve seen this very issue kill deals.

The Buyer’s Buyer. What if your buyer has to sell their home before buying yours? Do you know how to properly investigate the strength of their buyer? How to navigate your buyers buyers transaction, this is tricky.

These are just a few of the things you need to keep in mind when deciding to sell your home as FSBO. There any other potential issues or pitfalls.

Bottom Line

On average, 75% of all FSBO’s sign with a Realtor within 60 days of listing their home for sale as FSBO.

Statistically speaking, homes sold by FSBO sell for an average of 6% less than those sold by a Realtor.

During the last 20 years the percentage of FSBO has steadily decreased. The cost and aggravation of selling your home on your own is more than most homeowners can handle.