2014 Is Over, Sell the House?

At the end of the year in Orange County, hundreds of homeowners have a tough decision to make. The ‘listing for sale agreement’ on their house is about to expire and they now must decide to either take their house off the market (OTM), For Sale by Owner (FSBO) or list it again with the same agent or a different agent. Let’s assume you or someone you know is in this situation and take a closer look at each possibility:

Taking Your Home off the Market

In all probability, after putting your house on the market and seeing it not sell, you’re going to be upset. You may be thinking that no one in the marketplace thought the house was worthy of the sales price. Because you are upset, you may start to rationalize that selling wasn’t that important after all and say,

“Well, we didn’t really want to sell the house anyway. This idea of making a move right now probably doesn’t make sense.”

Instead of discounting your original goals, consider the reasons you decided to sell in the first place. Ask your family this simple question:

“What made us originally put our home up for sale?”

If that reason made sense a few months ago when you originally listed the house, chances are it still makes sense now. Don’t give up on what your family hoped to accomplish or on goals your family hoped to attain. Just because the house didn’t sell during the last listing contract doesn’t mean the house will never sell or that it shouldn’t be sold.

Re-Listing with your Existing Agent

For whatever reason, your house did not sell. Perhaps you now realize how difficult selling a house is or that the listing price was too high, or perhaps you’re now acknowledging that you didn’t exactly listen to your agent’s advice. If that is the case, you may want to give your existing agent a second chance. That’s a perfectly okay thing to do. However, if your agent didn’t perform to the standard they promised when they listed your home you may want to either FSBO or try a different agent.

List with a New Agent

After failing to sell your home, you may no longer trust your agent or what they say. However, don’t paint all real estate professionals with that same brush. Have you ever gotten a bad haircut before? Of course! Did you stop getting your hair cut or did you simply change hair stylists? There is good and bad in every profession—good and bad hair stylists, agents, teachers, lawyers, doctors, police officers, etc. And just because there are good and bad in every line of work doesn’t mean you don’t call on others for the products and services you need. You still get your hair cut, see a doctor, talk to a lawyer, send your kids to school, etc. You initially believed that using an agent made sense. It probably still does. Check references and choose wisely.

For Sale by Owner

You may now believe that listing your house with an agent is useless because your original agent didn’t accomplish the goal of selling the house. Trying to sell on your own this time may be alluring. You may think you will be in control and save on the commission. But, is that true? Will you be able to effectively negotiate each of the elements that make up a real estate transaction? Some professionals are indeed capable. Are you willing to put in the time to put together and execute a comprehensive marketing plan with professional photography, videography, aerial photography, websites, internet marketing, etc.? Overall, do people who sell their homes themselves ‘net’ more money? If you are thinking about FSBOing, here are 4 things to consider:

1. There Are a Lot of Many People to Negotiate With
Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO.

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer who wants substantial repairs or a huge credit for repairs found in their home inspection
  • The buyer who wants a price reduction if there is a question of value after the appraisal
  • Your lender(s) in the case of a short sale

2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 92% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 28% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an extensive internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Be sure you have one, too.

3. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. The average printed file in the real estate transaction is 2 inches tall. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.

4. Statistically, You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. However, sellers should realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the same commission. Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $184,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $230,000.   This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $46,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

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