Real estate is far more diverse than it ever used to be. From independent brokerages, flat fee contracts, and a wide array of services offered vs. cost charged, there is no shortage of options for a Seller to choose from when listing their property for sale. A growing number of people feel that they can ‘go it alone’ and navigate themselves through a successful transaction without employing the services of a Realtor. Of course, this is possible in some circumstances….. but it can go terribly wrong without adequate know-how.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues that can arise when Sellers decide to go ‘off-roading’ with a discount brokerage, or completely solo-mission:
Asking too much. The most obvious issue that we see is when properties are not priced accurately. Over-pricing can be detrimental to a successful sale – it limits the accurate number of people who may be interested and qualified to purchase the property, it can lead to a stigma associated when a home has been sitting on the market and becomes ‘stale’, and by the time someone might finally come around and express some interest, it has caused all negotiating power to be lost… typically leading to a lower sale at the end of it all.
Asking too little. The flip side of this, is selling under market value. We’ve seen this too (although it is less common). If a Seller does not truly understand what their property is worth, they could be selling themselves short. If selling privately is for the sake of saving money, wouldn’t a higher sale, leading to increased profit, be advantageous?
Lawyers cost more than Realtors. We have seen situations unfold when legal help is consulted (in lieu of a Realtor) leading to higher costs than what would have been paid out with the representation of a Realtor. Depending on the issues that arise, the work invested, and the time spent, the cost of cutting out a Realtor can lead to no savings at all.
Inexperienced negotiations. Some brokerages will happily accept a nominal fee in exchange for nominal services. We have experienced consumers so poorly represented that it causes an ethical dilemma as we teeter on feeling like we are taking advantage of a situation due to ignorance, lack of experience, or a complete inability to negotiate. Without the confidence to make an educated decision, these consumers do themselves no favors by trying to handle their sales in this manner.
Industry relationship and rapport. There is something to be said about the connections Realtors have within their field amongst one another. Positive relationships often aid in the successful sale of a home when networking takes place to match clients with properties. These relationships also provide weight and credibility while negotiating, often leading to a smoother and less stressful transaction.
Marketing. Have you ever noticed that ‘for sale by owner’ sign wedged into the boulevard for the last year, swaying in the breeze, completely faded from months of sun exposure? I’m not sure about you, but that doesn’t scream “BUY ME”! Part of a Realtor’s job is to market your property… to showcase it online, with professional imagery, and broad exposure. This advertising, publicity, and display will help attract positive attention to your property and intrigue prospective Buyers to take a look. At the end of the day, this presentation – and its professionalism – will set the bar for what is expected in the sale of your property.
Exposure. Remember that dusty, faded sign? About the only people paying attention to it are the garbage collectors as they try and dodge it while emptying your trash. You property should be advertised where motivated Buyers are looking – and that is online, via the many websites that showcase listings serviced by Realtors. ‘No sweat!’ You say, ‘I’ll pay a flat fee to have my listing loaded onto MLS” … did you know that many of these listings are not included in the board to which they actually belong? So – your home in London, also listed on MLS, might only be located on Toronto’s real estate board – shown to an audience who, for the most part, finds your property entirely irrelevant. Expose your property to the demographic who is actually interested in London’s real estate market.
All this to say… Realtors have a role. They offer value to their clients, ensuring they are protected, well-serviced, and assisted in the most advantageous manner possible. As the old adage goes… ‘you get what you pay for’. A friend of mine once added to this: ‘How comfortable would you feel driving over the bridge built by the lowest bidder?’ … Sometimes it’s worth paying for professional services, it generally pays off in the end, and affords you peace of mind that your real estate business is handled well.