Thursday, January 05, 2006

Should you use a Realtor

This is the first article on choosing a Realtor. The first question you should ask yourself is whether you should choose a Realtor or sell yourself as a for sale by owner. Although I was once a Realtor I want to make sure I give balanced information. This article is why you should choose a Realtor. The next article will be why you should sell yourself.

When it comes time to sell your home, should you try to sell it on your own, or should you list it with a licensed Realtor? Consider the following factors to help you decide:

Realtors, or real estate agents, are part of an office of agents, and each of them knows of buyers that are currently in the market for a home. Their buyers are pre-qualified, that is, they have already seen a lender and have qualified for a loan so the buyer knows exactly how much they can afford, and the Realtor does too. In many areas, a realtor won’t even show homes to a buyer until they pre-qualify. The process saves a lot of wasted time on everybody’s part.

Contrast this with the prospect of you putting up a “For Sale” sign in your front yard, and having to deal with people that will be calling you to talk about your house and want to walk through it, even though they don’t have the resources to actually buy it. In the end, they are just wasting your time.

Realtors also have contact with many people from out of town who are relocating to your area. Each realtor in town gets contacted frequently through their website, by people that are looking for a home by long-distance. They may be coming to town soon to look at available homes for a few days. The Realtor lines up a number of homes for them to tour that fit their criteria. One of them could be yours. But, if you FSBO, that potential buyer won’t know your house is on the market until they get to town, if then.

A real estate agent will be able to assist in setting the right price to list your home, according to the current market conditions.

A real estate agent is a trained professional who will spend the necessary amount of time it may take to get your home SOLD.

The agent understands and will take care of all the necessary paperwork to complete the buying process. The agent will also act as a liaison between you and the inspectors, the buyer’s agent, and between attorneys, if they are involved.

Most buyers prefer to deal with a real estate agent because the agent will give them the unbiased professional opinion on a house, and how it stacks up against other houses on the market.

Agents understand all the different types of loans and financing options. They can provide information to buyers about local lending institutions to fit their needs.

Realtors have many ways to advertise your home, not just a newspaper ad and a “For Sale” sign in the yard. They also utilize the following ways to advertise a home:
The Multiple Listing Service Open Houses Web sites like and Yahoo Real Estate Direct mail Newspaper inserts Regional Real Estate Magazines Cable TV Word of mouth through Realtor “Caravans” where 30 or more Realtors will tour your home and then match it to their prospective buyers.

How much of this marketing muscle will you be able to flex if you FSBO?

Agents have expertise to help you get your home in top shape before your prospective buyers arrive. They can help you “stage” your home to look more like a model home that would appeal to a larger group of buyers. They know how to emphasize and focus on your homes good points.
If you FSBO you will be learning the process as you go, a costly education when you are trying to sell your own home.

With all the time, knowledge, effort, and paperwork it takes to sell a home, you should partner with a Realtor and save yourself the headaches and frustration. Hire a Professional!

Vicki Walker is a Realtor serving clients in the Northern California towns of Davis and Woodland. You can find more great information by visiting her two websites Selling a Home in Davis or Woodland California Real Estate.
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