With the internet and listing sites like Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia, you don’t need a realtor to find a buyer. As the seller, you will have to pay both the buyers realtor and your own. The average cost is 6% of your sales price. That can be a lot of dough – $30,000 on a $500,000 house.
Exactly what benefits would a realtor provide me?
1.) A realtor will market your home
In today’s market I don’t believe this is true. The internet helps you market your home, not the realtor. Many times your realtor doesn’t even get the message if someone calls the phone number on your sign. The call is taken by someone else who doesn’t know you or your home. All listings, even ones that have a realtor, are viewed by buyers on the same three primary sites – Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia.
2.) A realtor will help you price it correctly
You can look at homes that are comparable to yours online with an hour or two of research. The math is not that difficult. I put together a simple sheet that shows these facts about homes near mine: square footage, list price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms. If there are homes within a few streets of yours that have sold or are for sale you can look up this information on Zillow. You can even look at the finish out to see if it is similar by checking out photos.
Take the 5-6 homes that are most similar to yours in size, age and location and divide the list price by the square footage. This gives you the per square footage dollar amount that your house is worth. See my example in this table, the average of my comps is $317. This would tell you that a price somewhere between $300 and $315 per square foot is the right price.
A realtor would probably encourage you to use the bottom end of market because the house sells faster. They don’t make much more commission if your house sells for $315 per square foot or $300, and they have to do less work if it’s priced to move fast. For example, if the house I’m selling sold for $315 per square foot vs. $300, the realtor would only make an additional $1200 while I could make an extra $32,500 if I sold at the top of the range.
3.) A realtor will help you with the contracts
When I bought my house using a realtor (because the seller pays the realtor), he spent less than 5 minutes completing the offer. The contracts are very standardized and there are lots of guides online that will help you more than your realtor. I will discuss the most important details of the contract in another post.
The buyer’s realtor completes the initial offer unless you are lucky enough to find a buyer with no realtor – 0% commission!
If the buyer needs help, be sure to comply with the applicable rules in your state. In Texas, you can go to a web site and download the standard form to use. Most of the language is boiler plate and there are numerous reliable sources that can help you understand the forms.
4.) A realtor will give you valuable advice
Realtors do see a lot of homes and meet with a lot of buyers. They can take a look at your home and give you tips about what needs to be done before it goes on the market. This is true, BUT there are so many useful resources online that can give you the same advice for free!
If you have questions about selling your home, use the form below to send them to us.