During the past year, while spending lots of time at home with my wife and infant daughter, I
learned that DIY projects can be really fun, AND save me money. I embarked on a few projects
including repainting our exterior shutters, re-tiling our bathroom floor, and even installing new
light fixtures. While it was lots of fun doing it, I did learn after some trials and errors, that it’s a lot
more time consuming than imagined, and it took a lot more knowledge than I initially thought.
The tiles were harder to fit once it got near the toilet, the shutters were kind of old and some
were falling apart, the light fixture wouldn’t turn on despite me matching all the color-coded
wires correctly. When business started picking up, I no longer had the time to finish these
projects. The only ones completed are the ones I ended up hiring a professional to do.
So, was I able to do it myself? Technically yes. But since time is money, I learned to stick to
what I am good at and invest in the best for everything else.
For sellers, the "for sale by owner" strategy represents freedom, control, and less cost. All very
appealing. However, when further assessing these so-called benefits, you'll realize the
numerous risks involved in this strategy make it far better to use a real estate agent to sell your
property. Here are a few reasons why:
Insight Into The Local Market
I’ve seen too many homes that were on and off the market so many times that any savvy buyer
will immediately see it as a red flag. An overpriced home is essentially a dead-on-arrival listing.
Realtors, which have constant boots-on-the-ground, have a lot more access to data than private
owners do. Although you can study the prices of other homes in your neighborhood – and price
yours comparatively – there is more to determining the value of your house than looking at the
listing price of your neighbor’s home. I analyze the house's history, the neighborhood's market
activity, and assess the home's “defining features” which may determine added or reduced
Negotiation Can Be Tricky
Many sellers believe that direct negotiation between buyers and sellers is more transparent and
allows both parties to look after their best interests. This is probably true—assuming that both
parties are reasonable people and are able to get along. Unfortunately, this is not always the
What if the buyer doesn’t like the wallpaper or the mosaic tiles in the bathroom window? If you
have an agent, you can discuss your concern or rant about the cost it will take to upgrade it
without insulting the seller. For all you know, the seller’s late mother may have chosen the
distinguished wallpaper, or the mosaic tile has sentimental value and insulting the décor may
jeopardize the sale.
A realtor is trained to convey this message in a manner to negotiate a
discount in the sale without ruffling any feathers.
A realtor can also play the “bad guy” preventing any bad blood that can kill a deal, by smoothing
things over in a tough transaction and keep it from getting personal.
Access to a Large Network of Buyers
Yes, sellers can post ads in paper, online and put a for sale sign outside, but to get the most
buyers you need to tap into where most buyers are located. Agents are usually already working
with several active buyers that may be the perfect match, not listing your house with an agent
means your house may not show up on MLS search results, thereby losing out on possibly the
largest pool of active buyers.
Save You Money
Yes, save you money. “But how? Realtors charge such high fees?!” If your time is valuable,
then you will save money. Here’s how – If you ask anyone that listed a home for sale how many
times their phone was ringing, and how many texts they were bombarded with, either by
Jonathan the broker from 30 miles south that keeps telling you why he’s the best broker even
though he never stepped foot into your town, or it is Danielle who is so excited to see your
house except she does not have a pre-approval letter and is not planning on buying for another
By the time you realize how much time it takes to filter and screen all the incoming calls and
texts because there may be a suitable buyer there, or you did not answer in time so they called
the next house for sale down the block, fell in love with it and closed on your neighbor’s house
instead. This leaves your house on the market for longer, with another mortgage and tax
payment out of your bank account.
Additionally, savvy buyers see a house listed by owner as an opportunity to negotiate even
lower “because the seller is not paying a broker fee, he doesn’t deserve such a high price”, and
they may come with a buyer’s agent who has lots of experience negotiating for the “buyer’s”
best interest. Buyers are aware of this and may use your lack of experience to their advantage,
placing you at greater risk of being exploited. You may also attract a more unscrupulous buyer
when you list your house on a private sale.
The Bottom Line
While there are certainly people who are qualified to sell their own house, doing a quick google
search will land you a long list of frequently asked questions that suggests the process isn’t as
simple as many assume, and when a difficult situation arises, it can really pay to have a
professional on your side.