There’s no doubt it’s a seller’s market in Boulder County real estate. There’s low available inventory, bidding wars on listed homes are commonplace, and a record number of buyers offer cash to edge out those who need financing to go under contract. All of these factors put the home seller in a power position of a strong sale price. With Colorado’s hot housing market I also see sellers who think they can make even more money by going the “for sale by owner” route and skipping agent commission fees. Studies have shown that hiring a Realtor, even in a fast moving housing market, will bring a net higher profit for the home seller.
Take Joe (not his real name, of course), a client of mine. He’s the type of “do-it-yourselfer” who can fix broken things around the house and solve complicated problems at work. We initially met to talk about his home’s value, the market, and my services. Joe was honest with me that he hadn’t yet decided whether to use a Realtor or sell the home himself. I admire people with a can-do attitude. But when trying to sell the largest asset you own, I can’t stress the point enough that studies overwhelmingly prove professional agents will be able to get you more money, manage the transaction process and contracts, reduce security issues, and sell a home faster than the homeowner.
Here’s what I told Joe and what I’d tell anyone thinking of selling a home by owner:
- I’ll price your home appropriately for the current market. Pricing too low or even too high can translate to low potential buyer traffic – think of a buyer’s mindset of “the home must need work” or pricing above a threshold price point. A house that sits on the market for months due to unrealistic pricing may cost the owner in mortgage and association fees and can lower its perceived value. Recently I recommended a sale price for a home in South Boulder at a sweet spot that attracted a feeding frenzy of qualified buyers. We had 9 offers in 48 hours and got the sellers $40K over asking price. That paid for agent commissions AND put more profit in their pocket.
- Using me as an agent addresses the preference of home buyers to not deal directly with the seller. According to the National Association of Realtors, “88% of buyers in 2014 purchased their home with assistance from a real estate agent, up from 83% in 2010.” Buyers like the buffer and anonymity of using a representative. I receive nearly immediate, honest feedback from buyer’s agents that they wouldn’t necessarily be as honest about with the owner. If we continue hearing the same negative feedback about something we can be address it immediately.
- I have access to MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which allows me to market your home to attract the largest number of potential buyers. A classified ad or sign in the yard can’t reach the same quantity or geographical region as MLS.
- There’s security and convenience in allowing access to your home via a seller’s agent. As a broker associate with RE/MAX of Boulder, I have secure showing services in place to verify the identity of licensed Realtors entering your home and provide access through a lock box. Private sellers have to be available on buyer’s time schedules for showings; if they even show up.
- I know what you’re legally bound to disclose or can state about your home. There are lots of required documents for sale of property and so many deadlines to adhere to; I’ll help you navigate that paperwork pile and timeline check list.
In the end, Joe decided to use me as his Realtor and was a happy camper with a healthy home sale price. There’s a time and place to be a “do-it-yourselfer,” but selling real estate property isn’t one of them.