Are you thinking of selling your home without agent representation? Among a minority of sellers this is a popular option when sellers perceive they are saving money on a transaction. After all, one of the motivating reasons for selling on your own is to walk away with more money in your pocket.

Perhaps you’ve bought and sold homes using agent representation and you don’t see the value of the work they did, so why shouldn’t you do it yourself? Maybe you had a bad experience and felt the commission you paid was not worth the hassle. This in and of itself is very disconcerting considering the behind the scenes work your agent may have done that you were not aware of.

My most recent experience with representing a buyer in a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) transaction reminded me of why it is so important to hire the right agent to sell your home.

The seller in this case seemed to have priced the home competitively according to my market research. I started a conversation with the seller and found out her primary source of advice was her sister, a licensed agent in Texas. California and Texas real estate laws differ greatly. The seller declined to consider signing a single party listing agreement with me because of the advice she was receiving from a family member licensed outside of California.

Not a big deal…I continued forward with negotiations representing my buyer only and sent her the Non-Agency Representation Agreement along with my client’s offer to purchase the home. A day later we received the seller’s counter offer…it was on an outdated form. I had to send it back to her explain the form was outdated. She couldn’t “find” the current forms so I sent her an updated form to sign and send back.

Lesson #1…CAR (California Association of Realtors) forms are not available to the general public unless you pay per form and can be difficult to know which ones to use because there are so many. They are also expensive considering how many forms a seller must complete in the disclosure process. Most sellers don’t know this or where to even look. There are hundreds of forms and revisions and new forms are required constantly.

Lesson #2…Advice from an out of state licensed agent is not the same as hiring the right agent licensed in your state to do the job.

During many of our conversations the seller stated advice she had received from the Texas agent and it was not consistent with California real estate laws and procedures. This could have landed her in hot water legally because of the thorough disclosure process that occurs in California. Relying on incorrect information could have caused her not to disclose material facts about the home, property, title, etc. I would hate to see this happen to you and be served with a lawsuit for which you could be responsible to pay thousands of dollars in attorney fees and settlements. It’s just not worth it for the sake of protecting your financial future.

Lesson #3…The money the seller saved in commission was not worth representing herself. Let me explain.

By representing herself the seller potentially “saved” $9,750 (give or take another half percent) in commission paid to a listing agent. But in the end she ultimately lost money which far outweighed the “saved commission”. After the sales price was negotiated the lender’s appraisal indicated that the actual market value of the home was $30,000 higher than what the seller agreed to for a purchase price. The seller could have had $20,250 more in her pocket at the end of the transaction if she had hired a Realtor who would have protected her best interests.

Can you afford to lose $20,000 on the sale of your home? You are probably saying “NO”! I agree!

If this hasn’t convinced you to contact me to help you sell your house, then here is a little more information to consider.

Firstly…Bad experiences are bound to happen because humans are involved. No matter what, it should never be your agent who creates the problem. Problems will arise within a real estate transaction and your agent has been hired to be a problem solver. How do you avoid risking a bad experience? Interview multiple agents, ask the right questions and ask for references from past clients. Then do your homework.

Research online reviews and find the dirt. You can even check with the Bureau of Real Estate to find out if there are any complaints filed against agents you are considering. The details of these complaints are not available, however; just knowing they are or are not there lets you know what kind of experience you may be heading into.

Research the broker the agent is working under and find recent news and reviews about their financial stability or complaints that may have been filed against them.

Secondly…There are many reasons sellers don’t see the value in hiring a Realtor to sell their home and paying them an average of 5-6% of the selling price to compensate both your agent and the buyer’s agent.

  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of marketing
  • Bad pricing advice
  • Too much time on the market
  • Poor customer service
  • Less than average negotiation skills
  • Passing responsibilities to inexperienced agents/assistants
  • Lack of timely responses to your calls/inquiries

I’ve heard over and over again from prospective FSBO sellers that these are the most common reasons they would rather represent themselves aside from the commission they pay. While all of these are unfortunate, the Real Estate Agent community should take notice and simply do better!

Lastly…whether your expectations of your listing price are higher or lower than the average market value, you owe it to yourself to consider the financial benefits of hiring an experienced agent to help you net the most profit possible. Commission aside, the right agent will help you expertly navigate through the process and help avoid possible legal repercussions.

To recap, whether you are trying to save money on commissions, avoiding the frustration of hiring the wrong agent and the possibility of future legal ramifications I highly recommend that you research all your options and hire me to protect your best interests.

I trust this post has been helpful for you and that you will call me right away to talk about all your options. I am there for you because I care!

For more information, call me at 916-600-1239 to schedule a visit or email me at christensenluxuryestates@gmail.com. For information on the value of your home visit my site at greatersachousevaluations.com.

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