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July 5, 2016 • Home Selling Tips

Seven Pitfalls of Selling Your Home by Owner in Florida

Selling your Fort Lauderdale home? Not sure where to start? Are you trying to decide if you really need a Broward real estate agent, or if you should FSBO (For Sale By Owner)? While there are instances in which a home can sell without professional agents on each side of the transaction, doing it on your own may not be the best idea.

Why People Choose FSBO

The most common reason people choose a Fort Lauderdale “for sale by owner” listing is the fact that they are thinking about one number, and one number only. That number is the real estate agent’s commission, which typically runs around 6% of the total sale price of the home. That would be a sweet $15,000 on a $250,000 home. When this number is the basis for the decision to sell your home yourself, the idea of being your own seller’s agent may be seen as quite attractive. However, there are many other factors to be considered before you ditch the idea of using a local Fort Lauderdale real estate agent.

  1. Buyer Agents will be Wary of You.

Professionals like to work with other professionals to ensure the buying and selling process runs smoothly. Many buyer agents will hesitate to show their clients FSBO homes, and will even actively discourage them from making an offer because they foresee headaches in the path ahead. A for-sale-by-owner deal may seem like a red flag to individual buyers as well, with extra hassles and risks implicit in trying to close the deal without a professional guiding the way. Many agents have also been “burned” in FSBO transactions, and are hesitant to participate in what they view as less professional transactions.

  1. It’s HARD to Sell Your Beloved Home.

When it comes right down to it, holding on too tightly to your house and forcing yourself to be deeply involved in each step of the sale process can do you emotional and mental harm. People have strong psychological ties to their homes, and handing off to a new owner can be difficult. Using a professional real estate agent can keep you at a small distance from the actual paperwork, softening the blow and making you less likely to commit novice errors – such as pricing your home unrealistically, refusing to accept more realistic offers, and rushing to close a deal before the deadline you’ve set for making a sale. A real estate agent can negotiate with the buyer’s agent without making you look desperate.

  1. Are you a Realtor? No? Then why are you Selling a House?

Being your own representative can be a hassle. You’ll be fielding numerous phone calls, rushing home to show your house when you are supposed to be at work or picking up kids from school, and feeling like you’ve “missed out” when you can’t make a meeting with the potential buyer.   You’ll also be scrambling to brush up on paperwork and legal documents, and run the risk of being taken advantage of by a savvy buyer’s agent who knows the ropes because this is what they’ve trained to do.

  1. You don’t have the Time or the Reach of an Agent

While it is possible for you to quickly list your home on sites like Zillow, Redfin, or even Craigslist (NOT recommended), you simply won’t have access to the large pool of prospective buyers that a professional agent does. They’ve spent years building a solid network of clients, other agents and real-estate agencies to bring you just the right buyer in the shortest possible time. Doing a FSBO may mean waiting months to find an interested party, and you may not end up getting what you wanted out of the sale of your home.

Additionally, having to drop everything to show your home is a big enough hassle when it’s an actual potential buyer – but can you tell the difference between window shoppers, curious neighbors, and real, invested buyers? An agent can – they will qualify buyers before wasting time on a showing, and weed out the ones who are obviously just rubbernecking.

  1. You are Blind to the Flaws of your Home

You see your home every day. It’s familiar and loved – and the less than perfect spots have been glossed over in your mind. A capable agent will walk through your home with you and point out the places that need work in order to get a decent offer. They can also consult with you after each showing to let you know what buyers are seeing that turns them on to or off of the home.  A professional cleaning company should be brought in to clean thoroughly, as smells from pets and other odors can be completely unnoticed by a daily occupant, but will stand out the instant a buyer walks in the door.

  1. Awkwardness Intensifies.

Little known secret: buyers HATE having the homeowner present when they are shopping. Nothing can really make a potential buyer nervous – or prompt them to speed through a showing – like the homeowner being present instead of an agent. When an agent shows a house, the buyer feels comfortable asking all the questions they want and not worrying about hurting someone’s feelings. When it’s time for the actual sale, the uneasiness can get even worse – the buyer’s agent may try to walk all over you knowing they have superior expertise. This can make for an unpleasant meeting for all involved.

Finally, if you do choose to sell your home by owner, you open yourself up to legal action if you don’t dot every i and cross every t perfectly. A huge pile of legal paperwork is involved in a home sale, and every page should be be completed correctly by an expert. Even if it’s not intentional, mishandling something like a seller’s disclosure can result in the seller being held liable for fraud, negligence or breach of contract.

Bottom line: don’t depend on FSBO to save a few grand – you are more likely to sell for a lower price if you go it alone, and the risks just aren’t worth any negligible potential payout. Find a reputable Florida real estate agent today and sell your home with a professional!

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