You Have a Few Different Options When It Comes to Selling Your Home Without Using a Real Estate Agent
Sell your home to a cash buyer.
Hire a real estate attorney to help manage the transaction for you.
Sell your home for sale by owner, doing everything yourself.
So, let’s look at all three of these options and weigh the pros versus the cons to see which one might work best for you.
To start with, let’s look at selling your home to a cash buyer. This could be a great option if you’re looking for a quick sale, limiting the contingency, so maybe not having inspections and not having to even prepare the home to put it on the market. The cons to this are that an investor is typically a cash buyer and they don’t want to pay the market value price for your home. So, if you’re looking to get top dollar, selling your home to a cash buyer is probably not the best way to go. According to Forbes, people who sold their homes to cash buyers typically got about 13 to 15% less than they would’ve used a real estate agent, where those commissions are typically around three to 6%.
Option number two is going to be hiring a real estate attorney to help guide you through the transaction. The pros to hiring an attorney is that they can help put together a solid contract for you, as well as negotiate any disputes with you and the buyer. The downside is, that you’re probably going to have to find that buyer. If you have a friend or a family member who wants to purchase your home, this is probably the best way to go. However, if you’re looking to get top dollar, this is probably not going to get you those results. So, keep that in mind and just be careful. If you are working with a friend or a family member, you could potentially harm the relationship as well.
The last option is that you’re going to handle the sale by yourself for sale by the owner. The benefit to this is that you’re going to be able to save on that commission, not hiring a listing agent, which is going to save you about 3% on average. However, you still have to consider that, more than likely, a buyer is going to be represented and you’re going to have to pay that buyer agent’s commission. When you go this route, you’re really just giving up the money side for your time. So, let’s take a look at the things that you’re going to have to spend your time doing in order to get the results you’re looking for.
The first thing you’re going to have to spend your time doing is preparing the home so that it’s attractive to potential home buyers. From there, you’re going to want to invest in photography, video, and possibly some 3D tours to make sure that you have the content and materials necessary to be able to market the home effectively.
When it comes to marketing, your best bang for your buck is going to be paying a flat fee service to get the home put onto the MLS, the Multiple Listing Service. In Maryland, it’s called Bright MLS. That’s going to give you the most exposure to potential home buyers. Additionally, you’re going to want to be marketing the home on Facebook, Nextdoor, and other social platforms to really maximize the amount of exposure. Additionally, for exposure, you’re going to be advertising the home. You’ll probably want to invest in either some digital or some print advertisements, or both.
Once buyers are aware of your property and it is for sale, they’re going to want to see the home. So, they’re going to be contacting you to schedule showings. This could be buyer agents or other people who found your property somewhere else online, or drove by and maybe saw your for sale by owner sign in the yard. It’s going to be your responsibility for then allowing people to come in and toward the home because not many people are going to want to buy a home until they actually see it.
Just to break down the differences here, when you’re working with an agent they’re probably going to put a lockbox on the door. And then agents will be the ones who request these showings and they’ll be able to be with their client the whole time, they are licensed, and they also have a code of ethics to make sure that only qualified buyers are coming into the home. You do open yourself up to possible safety and security risks, as well as potential scammers by showing the home yourself.
Once you have an offer come in, this is where negotiations begin. It’s your responsibility to get the best price and the best terms for you. Now, this is an instance where if you don’t know, then you don’t know. And often, the advantage goes to the buyer’s agent.
In addition, you’re also going to be responsible for providing the legal disclosures needed to sell your home. You’re going to have to obtain those and complete them correctly to be able to share them with buyers. And then you’re going to have to also go through and complete the contract. If you don’t have these forms, you might be able to get them from an attorney, or most likely you’re going to be relying on the buyer’s agent to provide those for you.
And lastly, it’s going to be solely on you and not the buyer’s agent to navigate your way to the settlement table. Once the clock starts, there are going to be different contingencies and things happening, including inspections, appraisals, documentation, and title work, and you’re going to have to navigate that on your own.
According to the National Association of Realtors® in 2020, the average sales price for sale by owner was $260,000, which was a 22% difference compared to a $318,000 price point when sold using a real estate agent. So, if you’re thinking, “You know what? I’m willing to give up my time to save that 3%. It’s totally worth it for me.” Or if you have a family member or you get a cash buyer who’s interested in purchasing your home with really little to do, then it’s a good option. But if you want to work with a full-time, full-service real estate agent, by all means, I’m here to help.