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Should you sell your home without a Realtor?

You can sell your home without a Realtor. But it's a lot of work.
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Gina Monaco, July 24, 2013 3:30:24 PM

So you want to sell your home and bypass the Realtor and the Realtor fees? Sure, go ahead, but make sure you understand the process and be prepared for all the little details. Every situation is unique and every seller wants to get the max price. But every seller also wants a relatively stress-free transaction.  So which option will get you the results you’re looking for? Working with a Realtor or going it alone? Here’s the breakdown.

It starts with your comfort level.  If you have a good working knowledge of the real estate industry, have a good idea about the market value for your home, don’t mind being a “salesperson” , understand the home buying process and are working closely with a lawyer, then go ahead and sign up with one of the “For Sale By Owner” firms. For a small fee, these companies will provide you with signs and other materials you need to successfully sell your home without getting a Realtor.

You put up your For Sale sign and wait for the offers. Hold on. You will certainly get interest from drive-bys and neighbours but they may or may not knock on your door or call. If they are first time home buyers, they may be uncomfortable working without a Realtor. Regardless of that, you still have to market your home, whether through an MLS listing – yes you can list for a fee — the private seller’s company website or Kijiji. You also must have Open Houses. Don’t be surprised if potential buyers knock at your door at all hours. Since you are not working with a Realtor, buyers assume they can come at any time to see the house. So be prepared. Yes, that means, the house has to be in “show” mode all the time, which can get a bit stressful if you have kids.

You will most likely have to walk through the Purchase agreement with newbies,  and get them to commit, which means you must also be aware of conditions—usually financial conditions and a home inspection. Also, buyers may not be pre-qualified for a mortgage. If that’s the case, it’s best to refer them to a mortgage professional.

If this sounds like more work than you are willing to take on, then perhaps you should work with a Realtor. Basically, a Realtor will do all the paperwork work for you – the listing, the signs, the purchase agreement. He or she will make sure potential buyers are qualified and any showings will be at your convenience. An Open House is still a must and most of the time the Realtor will handle that too. Realtors also have better access to potential buyers since they are already in the business, fielding calls and requests for viewings. Realtors also have a good idea of fair market value and can price your home to sell.

What about those Realtor fees? They can be pretty hefty in some areas of the country. First of all, determine the amount of money you want to get out of your home. Then the Realtor fee is usually added on to that. Be aware that buyers will negotiate the price so you must feel comfortable getting slightly less than what you wanted.

You can also negotiate the Realtor fee. We’re in a very competitive market but make sure you aren’t sacrificing quality by going with a Realtor who has reduced his fee. As in most industries, some sales people are better than others. Take a look at the top performers – they will likely not negotiate, however, take a look at who is working with them – the ones starting out – they may consider taking a reduced commission to get their feet wet.

If you really want to sell on your own and a Realtor comes to your door and says he or she has a buyer but you must list with them first. Well, I would try to negotiate a deal rather than list. Offer the Realtor a certain amount if the purchase goes through. After all, he or she is supposed to be working for the client, and the client likes your house.

Back to the question –To Realtor or not? It’s a lot of work but the choice is yours to make.

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Gina Monaco

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