Today our Realtor called us to say that the condo we rehabbed to flip was shown over the weekend and that a woman is in love with our little condo.

But we all know that love comes with complications.

The problem is she has to sell her own home first. Her home is in a nearby town that doesn’t have much to recommend it, so I am not counting on her infatuation turning into an offer anytime soon.

It’s encouraging, but that’s all.

Being on the scene to answer questions and to point out all the amenities from a personal point of view is one of the reasons people decide to sell their homes direct, without a broker.

While some sellers consider selling a property themselves will save them money, I think that vision is short-sighted. I think the advantages to working with a licensed Realtor outnumber that one advantage, and I'm not convinced that a F.S.B.O seller will actually net more cash when he sells. The way I see it, a Realtor:
  • Knows the local real estate market and can easily research accurate, comparable properties to establish a fair and realistic asking price.
  • Is in touch with trends and what current buyers expect, so she can suggest ways to improve your property.
  • Acts as a buffer between you and the buyer so the transaction is less personal and more professional.
  • Provides a measure of security because she’s already collected some information about the buyer (no strangers knocking at your door or calling asking for a tour).
  • Works with the buyer to assist with financing, home inspections, and the legalities of the transaction.
  • Saves you time by working with qualified buyers.
  • Has the skills and capital to advertise your property to the target market and to a worldwide market.
  • Adds credibility that makes buyers feel more comfortable. You have a professional representative instead of being just Joe Blow selling his house.
  • Buyers trust the Realtor as a third party, and feel they are being represented.
  • It's common for a Realtor to already have a list of clients she is working with, buyers who are ready to make an offer on the home that matches their wish list. 
  • Knows how to negotiate so that both buyer and seller are happy with the selling price and all the other conditions of the sale -- contingencies, deposits, timing, and other details. 
Do I sound like a mouthpiece for the National Association of Realtors? I don’t have any ties or affiliations with any real estate company. The reason I have high regard for Realtors is that I have worked with some excellent ones. Finding a good real estate agent is a topic for another blog post.

Also, Mr. Lucky and I once tried to sell a house F.S.B.O. After three months of showing the property to assorted “buyers,” we turned it over to a Realtor who had it sold in a week.

What we came to understand was that serious and qualified buyers work with a Realtor instead of shopping F.S.B.O. listings in hopes of getting a steal (no broker to pay!), or owner financing, or other special considerations.

Even though the Internet makes it possible to research comparable properties, I still would not encourage people to price and advertise their own home for sale when you can be guided through what can become a complicated process that has ramifications for years to come. If you're ready to sell, real estate pros are there to help.