A lot of people ask me, “why should I sell my house myself”? Well, there are plenty of reasons. But, the main reason to sell your house yourself is to save money. A lot of money.
And It’s not as hard as you think.
You list with a real estate agent on the assumption she will work for you, right? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. A close friend of mine, Faye, learned the truth the hard way.
She approached three major real estate firms to evaluate her property and suggest a listing price. They came back to her with prices ranging from $699,000 to $799,000. For an appalling example of how an agent might not work for you, and a good answer to, “why sell my house myself”, read Faye’s story:“
The house was built in 1886. After buying it, we completely gutted and remodelled it. The property was unique comprising over 10 acres of land, all professionally landscaped, and a one acre pond.
I insisted they were undervaluing the property and told the agents I would not sell the house for less than $999,000. They all told me I was being greedy and that it simply wouldn’t’ sell at that price.“One of the firms agreed to list it at my price. The agent promised they would feature our home in a deluxe, four-colour brochure and would place ads in all the major newspapers. In the first 45 days, they ran one small ad in the local paper. It produced no showings. I contacted the agent who reminded me that the listing price was too high. In her mind, the fact there had been no showings was proof the asking price was not realistic.
The firm said it would not run any more ads until I reduced the price. You can imagine my frustration, and I was stuck with a 90-day contract. All the real estate company had done for me was to stick a large sign on the front lawn. That probably cost them a couple of hundred dollars.
Just wait, the price will drop
One Sunday afternoon, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a couple and their two adult children. They had been driving by, liked the look of the house and wondered of they could view the property. I pointed out that they would have to contact the listing agent to set up an appointment. They replied that they had tried this and were advised that the property was overpriced. “Wait a couple of weeks,” they were told, “the price will be adjusted.” This infuriated me. Who did this agent and realty company think they were working for? Obviously, it was not for me.“Upon hearing that, I decided to invite the people in and show them the house myself. I proudly pointed out its unique features and the quality of all the upgrades that we had poured into the renovation. Then we went outside and walked the property. They were visibly impressed. “”Can we come back tomorrow?”” they asked.
We set up an appointment for the following morning. When they left, I immediately called the real estate agent and told her about the people who had just seen the house and let her know what time they were coming back the next morning. She was at her cottage and would not be available for the showing. “
You know the house better than I do,” she suggested. “Go ahead and show it to them and if they want to make an offer, have them call me.”
Easy money, hard lesson
“During the second visit, the family expressed their interest in buying the house. I confirmed that I would not take less than $990,000. They wanted to deal directly with me, hoping to shave more off the price by saving on the real estate commission. I explained that I had signed a contract and unfortunately had no alternative but to pay the commission.
We shook hands on the price of $990,000. For a commission of nearly $60,000, the real estate agent figured it was worth scurrying back from her cottage to write up and present the offer. The deal closed and I ended up handing over to the agent precisely $59,940 for the service of posting a $200 sign on my lawn.
That was an expensive lesson in how not to sell your home. Trust me, I learned!”
It is not fair to assume that one agent and a single episode are representative of the whole real estate industry. There are dozens, maybe even thousands, of honest, hard working, people in the business. But often, in pursuit of a listing or a closing, many turn a blind eye to what they were taught about ethics in their real estate class.
Just as for a sales person in any other line of work, closing a sale is the single most important goal to a real estate agent. That message is repeatedly confirmed in courses, books, audiotapes and seminars.
So, don’t give your money away. It may take a little extra effort on your part, but the return on investment is so worth it. Learning how to sell my house myself has saved me thousands of dollars.