Do you have the itch to sell your home but you also have extreme sticker shock at what it will cost you to do it? Or maybe you just enjoy casually searching for a home on Zillow and don’t really want to deal with a live person until you absolutely have to? Well, you definitely aren’t alone. So to help you make a more informed decision, I’d like to discuss whether or not you actually need a realtor.
Do I Really Need a Realtor?
Short answer...nah. 😉 All you really need is a title company. Long answer...it completely depends
on how much work and mental stress you want to put in to get the job done. Like most things in life, you can absolutely DIY the sale or purchase of your home. The internet enables us to figure out how to do most anything. Not only can you research how to DIY your sale, but sites like Zillow and Realtor.com put the majority of the market at your fingertips.
So if you are someone who tends to redo her own bathroom before calling a pro, or you’d likely represent yourself in court before hiring a lawyer, then selling or buying your own home is probably for you. However, if you are on the fence, then you might want to read the rest of this blog.
Purchasing your Own Home
Honestly, there’s really no reason to attack the buy side by yourself. Why? Because you don’t actually pay a realtor to help you buy a home. The seller does. Pretty nice, huh? Now, lately the trend is for brokerages to charge the buyer an “administration” fee once you actually close on a house. These fees could range anywhere from $200-$1400 (yes, I’ve seen fees that high 😱). So while I say you don’t pay any realtor fees to purchase a home, that actually depends on which agent/brokerage you work with. Some charge admin fees; some don’t. So make sure you ask your agent before you start the process. For me, my brokerage does charge a fee. However, I choose to pay the fee myself instead of passing it onto my buyers.
Buyer Agent Services
So what does this free service entail? Well, first, (even though most of you will still spend time searching Zillow on your own), a realtor will cut your search time down to casual searching as you lay in bed at night. Once you discuss your needs and wants with your realtor, she will take on the search for you. She can also hook you up with automatic home alerts so that neither one of you miss a beat. When you find homes you like, your realtor will get you access to tour those homes so that you don’t have to call other random agents and set up appointments yourself. When your tours lead you to “the one,” your realtor will negotiate an offer and sales agreement for you. Putting an offer in on a house is stressful enough; you don’t want to add the stress of negotiation and proper paperwork on top of that. Once your offer is accepted, you’ll still have to deal with the seller, the seller’s agent, the inspector, additional inspectors, the appraiser, your lender, the city, and the title company. Shew. Who wants to deal with all those people? 😂 Why not let a realtor handle them for you? Throughout the entire process, your realtor will be your go-to, your counselor when your anxiety spikes, a potential shoulder to cry on, a pit-bull when it seems like a deal might fall through, a connector when you realize the house needs a bit of work, and most importantly, a friend. They say buying a house is one of the most stressful life events….so why go through that without expert support in your corner? Especially when that support is free. 😉
Bonus Services: I also provide free moving help and a “welcome-to-the-block-party” for my clients.
Listing Agent Services
When most people forego a realtor, they do it when they sell. Why? Well...the typical cost to sell a home is six percent of the sales price. For many people, that’s just way too much money. But for you, the money just might be worth it. First of all, you aren’t paying that money out of pocket, nor are you paying it up front. You only pay realtor fees if your house actually sells. Also, the payment comes out of the sale of your house, not out of your pocket. It’s kind of like taxes….you don’t even get to hold the money before you give it away, so it might feel like you didn’t end up paying anything at all (depending on how you look at it) 🤷🏻♀️. But even so, six percent of your home sale is a lot! So what do you get for that six percent? To start, you get two realtors. Unfortunately, the way the real estate game works is that you as the seller pay for both your agent AND the buyer’s agent (I know, I know, but that’s a discussion for another day 😉). So not only are you provided listing services from your agent, but you are also provided with a large market pool of buyers from a mass amount of buyer agents. They create competition for you and potentially earn you more money on the sale of your home via that competition. If you choose to list your home without an agent, then you are also choosing to shield your home from all of those buyer agents’ clients as well. See, if you aren’t willing to pay realtor fees, then those buyer agents aren’t going to bring you buyers….because they won’t be paid if they do. You end up limiting yourself to agent-less buyers (and that pool isn’t very large).
Now let’s say you don’t want to pay a listing agent, but you are willing to pay the three percent buyer agent commission so that buyers are brought to you. Well, your pool will still be small because your home won’t be on the MLS (the platform that agents use to find homes). Therefore, your pool will be limited to the agents who actively check sites like Zillow for FSBO (for sale by owner) homes. All of that to say, your six percent commission fee gets you two realtors, exposure to the entire buyer pool, and market competition that will help get you more money in the end. Is that all? Nope. Your listing agent will also coordinate your showings and handle all of the communication so that you aren’t fielding 50 calls a day or feeling like you need to skip out on work to show a home to a potential buyer. Your commission also pays for professional photography and videography, marketing, staging or staging consultation, contract and offer negotiation, all the scary paperwork, free counseling and/or friendship when the process becomes stressful or you just don’t know what to do, and like we said above...an expert to have your back through the entire process. So what do you think? Is the six percent worth it? If not, see if you can find an agent (like me 😉) who offers a flexible commission schedule.
So if you are someone who doesn’t mind spending the time to learn something new, go ahead and give it a shot! Or, maybe you are on your fifth home at this point in your life and you feel pretty confident in the process; go for it! What’s the worst that could happen? You run into a problem you don’t know how to solve or you get burnt out from all the stress? Well…just call a realtor. 😉 It’s never too late to hire an agent. So if you are feeling savvy, try it out and take comfort in the fact that I’ve got your back if you end up realizing you really do need some help. 😉