Should you sell your home yourself, or use an estate agent? Some tips to help you decide.
Many homeowners believe they can sell their own property, with this belief being especially prevalent in times when the property market is performing either very well or very poorly. In a strong seller's market, for example, the reason is that sellers know that buyers will beat a path to their door as soon as they know their property is for sale, easily achieving the sale themselves and keeping the commission they would have ordinarily had to pay an agent. On the other hand, when a market experiences a steep downturn, homeowners may be inclined to try private selling in the belief that their property will automatically be more attractive to buyers if they eliminate an agent’s commission and drop their asking price.
The reality: You need an agent on your side
But the fact is that although you can eliminate an agent, someone still has to do everything an agent would have had to do to safely negotiate a successful property transaction. Even in this high-tech age, successful sales still depend, to a large extent, on certain factors such as:
- Determining a market-related price
- Qualifying prospective buyers
- Creating and paying for advertising
- Organising show days or viewing appointments
- Drawing up a valid sale agreement
- Helping buyers to obtain finance
- Co-ordinating all the transfer processes.
Most homeowners simply don’t have the time or knowledge to handle all the work required, which is exactly why private sellers still only account for a tiny percentage of successful home sales - in any market. It is also why professional agents are often called in to help after homeowners have experienced a couple of months of trying to sell their properties on their own, with no luck.
No gain, no pain
Those tempted to try their hand at private selling should also bear in mind that the estate agency industry remains just about the only one operating on the “no gain, no pain” principle, in that the client only pays for all the above services if they result in a successful outcome.
Estate agents wield power
Another thing to remember is that it is estate agencies that literally “make” the residential marketplace, with active networking and canvassing, as well as large volumes of advertising that create interest and buyer demand on a scale not possible for private sellers to achieve.
More security with an agent’s assistance
Finally, those contemplating a private sale should know that they have a far greater security risk than those working with an agent. This is because they are generally anxious about putting potential buyers off if they make too many rules about viewing times or ask too many questions about financial capability.
Working with an agent will protect you, in many ways, from hassles such as having people claiming to be prospective buyers just “drop in” to view the property at strange times, or from show day burglars and bogus buyers whose only real objective is to gain occupation of your home. At the end of the day, having an experienced and knowledgeable agent by your side when selling your home is likely to have the best possible outcome for all involved.