Written by Gretchen Rosenberg, President and CEO of Kentwood Real Estate
There are many benefits to working with the full-service real estate professionals at Kentwood Real Estate. During challenging times, it becomes even more important to have an expert you trust to help guide you through the complex process of buying or selling real estate. If you’re considering going it alone to sell as For Sale By Owner or on your own as a buyer, or by using a less than full-service company, it’s critical to consider the following:
1. Your Safety Is a Priority
Your family’s safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the current health situation in our country. When you FSBO or call on owners directly, it is incredibly difficult to control the circumstances of the showing or disclosure of information related to safety. A real estate professional will have the proper protocol in place to protect not only your belongings but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, real estate professionals are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your family.
2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer
Recent studies from NAR have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Kentwood real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. They’re also adept at helping buyers through a complex process using those same virtual tools. A full-service professional owes a duty to you and your transaction to ensure you receive the information you need to make informed decisions. You don’t know what you don’t know. A service orientation and high level of experience are vital and will save you time and money in the long run.
3. There Are Many Negotiations
Here are just a few of the people we negotiate with throughout a transaction:
- The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interests of the buyer
- Or the seller (if you’re a buyer) who wants the highest price, most favorable closing date, and fewest contract conditions/contingencies
- Inspectors, who work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges or recommendations for a house
- The appraiser if there is a question of value
- Attorneys, title companies, and the other broker
As part of our training, brokers are taught to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers or sellers looking to complete what is probably the largest transaction of their lives. The best brokers advocate for their clients while keeping the end game in focus. A win for everyone is when the transaction is closed, and people can move on to the next steps in their life journey.
4. Is the Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage?
Having a buyer who wants to purchase your home is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment.
Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was available yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table, or you as the buyer, gets the best mortgage service and advice possible.
5. Transactions are Becoming More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint
The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the broker acts as a third-party to help the buyers and sellers avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people trying to sell their own houses has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. Two of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure and informed pricing:
“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”
The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place. Particularly if you’ve received topflight information on pricing competitively.
Doing it alone leaves you to manage the entire transaction by yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and net the same amount of money or have a buyer agent negotiating for and advising you? Before you decide to take on the challenge of wading into the real estate markets, contact a Kentwood broker to discuss your options.