Selling Your Home: Do It Yourself or Use an Agent?

Selling Your Home: Do It Yourself or Use an Agent?


I’m pretty sure this age old question pops up into every homeowner’s head who’s thinking about selling their home. “Should I use an agent or should I try to sell it by myself?” Should you become a FSBO? (For sale by owner).


I can vouch for my profession as an agent and truly say that the best agents are worth every cent for they value they provide during your home selling process. At the same time, you can DEFINITELY sell your home on your own and save on the broker fees associated with the transaction.


Interesting, right? An agent writing about homeowners selling their homes without agents.


That is correct! If you are competent enough, you can sell your home on your own. Whether I recommend it or not is a totally different standpoint.


I could easily provide stats of sellers who used an agent vs. sellers who didn’t and their end results. The numbers obviously favor using an agent. Then again, I find it funny that most agents will pull this data from the National Association of Realtors.


Of courseee they woulddd.


Instead,  I’ll share the reasons why sellers made the decision to hire an agent based on what sellers’ have communicated to me.  You can then take this information and apply it to your own situation and make the decision to either hire an agent or look to sell the home yourself.


Finding a buyer for your home.


This was the number one reason why homeowners hired an agent. Obviously I’m not sure what you, the reader, do for a living or how many hours you work, but agents spend majority of their time creating, building, and maintaining relationships.


…basically they know a ton of people…


Not to mention those are just the individuals that agents know already. As far as the individuals they don’t know, their marketing efforts help boost their reach, usually at the click of a button with the technology they have access to.


Agents have funds allocated for marketing purposes. Photography, videography, drone technology, website design, direct mail, MLS, just to name a few. A homeowner can definitely do this themselves, just prepared for the time and money needed to be spent in order to get these things done and see the results.


Homeowners love Zillow and Trulia, rightfully so. Almost every individual looks at Zillow or Trulia or when looking for a home. Honestly, how can I deny the fact that a seller can take some really good pictures, put their listing online and start immediately receiving phone calls and inquiries about their home?


I can’t.


If the prospective buyer is not represented by an agent, be ready to stop what you’re doing every time an individual wants to see your home, after all, “this could be the one, right?!” Will you have time and energy to do so?  Did I mention that your phone will ring nonstop – with other agents trying to get you to list with them?


(Trust me they will. I was one of those agents early in my career. Jeez, I’m glad I gave that up.)


The downside to the fact that every individual looks at Zillow or Trulia is that many of them aren’t qualified buyers. Individuals who haven’t been properly qualified to obtain a mortgage are not the types of buyers you want looking to purchase your home. What’s worse than having a closing date set only to find out the buyer can no longer obtain a mortgage?! It happens.


Since agents have built relationships with others in the community, they also know the best mortgage lending companies. Lenders that properly vet their buyers, and those that don’t are the difference between a successful transaction or a 4 month nightmare causing nothing but stress and anxiety.


Don’t make the mistake of choosing a non-reputable lender when deciding to accept a buyer’s offer.


Selling for top dollar within a specific amount of time


Selling a home within a specific time frame was another priority sellers shared with me. It’s universally accepted that most sellers just want to sell as quickly as possible and for the most amount of money. Sure some may need to have a closing date further out into the future, but they’ll still look for the most amount of money. Just be sure to know your market in and out to get an idea of how long it is taking for homes to sell in your area and at what price.


The average DOM will have an impact on both price and the amount of time needed to sell so as long as you find that sweet spot of money and time, you will be successful with selling your home.


For example, if the average DOM (days on market) for newly renovated homes is 90 days, then it would be a challenge to look for both top dollar and an offer in 30 days. One variable will have to give. If you’re home isn’t renovated, then you’ll really need to be honest with your price and expected time frame.


Agents know this information off the top of their heads. You will just have to learn.


Negotiations, Contracts, and Paperwork, oh my!


Assuming the other great agents are like me, I’m one hard ass negotiator and I defend my client’s best interest at all times. Strong negotiating skills are the difference between getting what you want and walking away feeling like you’ve been taken advantage of. If you don’t have anyone in your corner, make sure that you really know what you’re doing so you don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Can you imagine trying to make a negotiating decision while at work or attending your child’s basketball game? You wouldn’t be in the best state of mind to do so.


Now, if you have Mother Teresa looking to purchase your home, you’ll obviously have nothing to worry about it, but everyone isn’t Mother Teresa, neither are their agents.


Agents spend their time handling transaction after transaction so they will know a lot of things that a FSBO just doesn’t have time to find learn. If a homeowner has sold a home or two before, then they may have a better understanding, but that will never beat the amount of experience an agent will have from the many transactions they participate in.


As much as I love being an agent, even I hate the amount of paperwork that needs to be done in order to complete a transaction – I’d hire an agent just to do it for me! As a FSBO, you’ll have to find out what every document and disclosure means before you start signing things. While your attorney will be able to handle some of the contractual agreements and negotiations, sometimes there are things that may need to be hashed out between you and the buyer before it heads to your respective attorneys for addendum’s to the purchase contract.


All that to say…


Yes, selling your home on your own can be accomplished, whether or not the transaction will be smooth or not will be up to you. It’s apparent that an agent can do a much better job as a professional and I completely understand the desire to try to save money.  At least interview an agent and see if going with an agent is best for you and your family.


Trust your gut, it already knows what you want!



What were your experiences either as a FSBO or working with an agent? Comment below!


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