Ever bought or sold a home? Then you’ve most likely used a real estate agent.
Now I don’t have anything against real estate agents by any means, they provide a great service to those who want to use them. The problem, however, is the fact that you are almost obligated to have one. And in case you don’t know, the typical fee to the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent (combined) is typically around 6%. Thats a lot of money!
Now if you’ve read some of my stuff, you know I’ll go to great lengths to save money, like what I did to go on a free cruise compliments of my credit cards, or how I get free movie tickets, or a million other things I do. I don’t always consider myself extremely financially smart, but I do consider myself very financially creative. So as I was reading a recent post over at MyPersonalFinanceJourney.com (great blog by the way, you should check it out) about using a Realtor, I thought I’d share how I plan to sell my home without using a real estate agent.
How I Do The Agents Job
We moved into our home almost 2 years ago, and I remember very well wondering, “what am I paying this agent for?” I mean, we were even driving separate cars! Now technically I don’t pay her, it comes out of the seller’s pocket, which makes the decision of selling your home with or without an agent an even bigger decision.
She, our agent, was really nice, and great at what she does, but there just isn’t much she can do that I can’t. Now to be fair, it’s probably mostly my fault because I am very proactive, and like to deeply engage myself in order to feel good about the decision I ultimately make.
But the reality is this, I did the research, I found the areas we wanted to live, and I found the exact homes we wanted to look at. The only thing she was able to really help me with was opening the door to show the home.
(There is a caveat here. I already lived in the area we were looking to purchase a home. I would have needed a lot more help had we been moving into a city I had never before lived. I’m certain there are extenuating circumstances where a buyer’s agent can be very helpful and necessary.)
Now I know this is post is supposed to be about selling your home. I’m getting there…
You see, before even using a buyer’s agent I tried to simply contact the seller’s agent and hopefully save a little bit of money. Here’s what I discovered:
- Some wouldn’t even talk to me. They would only talk to an agent.
- Going directly to the seller’s agent didn’t mean commissions were saved, the seller’s agent just saw it as increased commissions because they wouldn’t have to split it with anyone else.
I ultimately was left with no choice but to work with an agent just to get through the door… for me this seems ridiculous. So if I can’t seem to buy a home without an agent, I do plan to sell one without one.
How I Plan to Sell My Home Without An Agent
About a year ago I was helping a neighbor move that had just sold his home. As we were talking, he mentioned he didn’t use an agent. This sparked my interest and I asked him a few more questions.
I soon found out he not only didn’t use an agent, but of the multiple times they’ve moved, he has NEVER used an agent.
That got me even more interested. I asked him to go in depth…
Here’s what he does. Instead of using an agent, he uses a Fee only listing service that, for around $200, will list your home on the MLS. Since my biggest concern would be exposure, this seemed like a great option.
After he gets it listed, he and his wife take the calls, show the home, and sign the purchase agreement. He still offers the buyer’s agent their half of the commission, and he keeps the rest. On a $300,000 home, thats about $9,000 more he gets to keep on the sale of his home. Not bad!
This has saved them thousands of dollars over the years as you can imagine. Money I, too, plan on saving.
Now this means you’ll have to do a little bit more leg work. You’ll have to show the home, take the calls, and you may even have to buy a sign (deal breaker?), but you’ll save a lot of money.
What do you think? Do you see yourself using a seller’s agent, or do you think you could do it on your own?
Photo Credit: Flickr – Daniel Leininger