For Sale By Owner vs Real Estate Agent
If you’ve driven anywhere in rural areas in Louisiana, you’ve likely seen your fair share of “For Sale By Owner” signs in front yards. Maybe you’ve called a few yourself and tried to schedule a walk-through of the home. You’ve probably also seen a Realtor sign pop-up in the yard after a few months of the owner trying on their own and eventually seeking professional help. The Louisiana real estate market has taken some hits the past few years, but it’s coming back stronger in 2021.
You have an option to either stick a sign in your yard and try to sell your home yourself or to hire a real estate agent. You may be considering saving the commission and trying it on your own, so here’s a few pros and cons to think about.
How Do I Sell My Home Myself?
For Sale By Owner
If you’ve been Googling, “How can I sell my home myself,” you’ve come to the right place.
Selling your home on your own sounds like a great idea. I mean, how hard could it be? You can save thousands of dollars on commissions and all you have to do is put a sign in your yard, right? While you can absolutely save money if you price it right and get lucky, there’s a good chance you will change your mind within a few weeks.
Drive around your neighborhood and count the number of “For Sale By Owner” signs you see. If there are a lot, you have plenty of competition. It’s even worse if the homes are similar to yours and in the same school zone. It may be hard to stand out from the crowd on your own.
Selling your home by yourself is difficult for these reasons:
- People will low-ball you and offer far below market value.
- You could price too high and never sell.
- You could price too low and lose money.
- People will call you all hours of the night with no intention of actually buying.
- Random neighbors will ask to see inside your home just to see what you have.
- Unqualified buyers will waste your time.
- You will probably get frustrated and pull the plug.
I have personally experienced every one of these when selling homes. You would be surprised that your neighbors will request a walk-through with zero intentions of buying. Another big issue with selling your home yourself is you will have droves of unqualified buyers asking questions about your home.
Unqualified buyers are those who do not have a home loan set up, nor are they able to qualify. Why are they requesting to see your home and negotiating with you? Because you don’t have a buffer between yourself and the public. One of the many functions of a real estate agent is to protect you from unwanted stress and that includes fielding calls from people who are not in the market to buy your home.
Are Real Estate Agents Worth the Cost?
You may be wondering how much you will have to pay to have a real estate agent sell your home. Real estate agents in Louisiana get paid a commission based on the sale price of your home. The more they sell it for, the more they get paid. This motivates them to sell your home for more than you could have gotten yourself and they usually cover their fee. It’s a win-win situation.
Real estate agents also have the right tools and training to sell your home as quickly as the market allows. They know how to properly price your home. Set the wrong price and your home may be stuck on the market for a while. Sure, you can lower the price, but then potential buyers will question your motives. What’s the first thing you think when someone lowers the price on a home multiple times? It gives the impression that something’s wrong with the home, when the truth is it was just priced too high for the market.
A good real estate agent will know what homes like yours normally sell for in your community. They will have past sales to compare them to and will know where to begin. This experience is invaluable and can save you far more than the commission paid to real estate agents once your home sells.
What do Real Estate Agents Do to Sell My Home?
Real estate agents have a tough job. They handle many functions that you may not even be aware of. Your agent will handle marketing, real estate market research and administrative functions that you don’t have time for. Here’s a few tasks real estate agents do to help sell your home:
- Answer phone calls about your home
- Set up viewing appointments
- Conduct open houses
- Advertise for you online
- Network with their connections
- Blog about your property
- Administer advertising campaigns to sell your home
- Study the market
- Update your property listing when something changes
- Answer emails about the property
- Negotiate on your behalf
Real estate agents have different jobs depending on whether they are working with buyers or sellers. All real estate agents can work with both buyers and sellers.
What Does a Real Estate Agent do When Representing Sellers?
You may have heard of a real estate agent referred to as a listing agent or selling agent. This simply means that they are helping clients sell a property. They represent the seller in the transaction and do everything in their power to sell the home. They may perform the following duties:
- List the property
- Take photographs of the interior and exterior of the home
- Compare the property to other recently sold properties
- Stage the property to entice buyers
- Speak with potential buyers, escrow companies, home lenders, banks, etc.
- Prepare the property buy/sell agreements and other documents
A lot goes into preparing a property to sell. Real estate agents work hard for their clients and are worth every penny. If you’re on the fence about listing the property yourself, consider at least calling a real estate agent to set up a consultation. You may be surprised at what a good real estate agent can offer.