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Can you sell a house on Zillow?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019   /   by Kylene Emery

Can you sell a house on Zillow?


Selling your home on Zillow is said to be a great way to save thousands of dollars when you do decide to sell. Some Realtors charge anywhere up to 6% of the sales price – that’s $15,000 on a $250,000 home, so there may be some truth to that.

Acting as your own seller’s agent will surely be worth the savings, right? Well, in come cases that might be true, but here are five reasons why you might want to think twice before you try to selling your home on Zillow by owner:

1.    Buyers’ agents may not want to show your property to their clients.

When a Realtor sees someone selling a home on Zillow, we know there isn’t a professional on the other side of the transaction, which can mean a bunch of headaches for everyone. For sale by owner (FSBO) sellers are sometimes viewed as unrealistic, unreasonable and often difficult to work with. To combat that, make sure to cooperate with buyers’ agents, which will include paying a commission.  There are no fees for selling your home on Zillow, so the expenses are still less than a traditional sale.

In today’s market, to get the highest and best price on your listing, your goal should be to increase the exposure to real estate agents who work with homebuyers. Nearly 90% of active homebuyers are working with an agent, so why leave them out??  The question you should really be asking yourself is if the increased exposure on listing with an agent will outweigh the percentage of commission charged.

On top of that, you’d probably be paying a buyer’s agent commission anyway, so really what you’re saving when selling your home on Zillow by owner is around less than 3% of the sales price.  Let’s break down the math on that:

$250,000 sales price
2.5% payable to a buyers agent= $6,250
2.5% payable to listing agent (your “savings” by listing on Zillow)= $6,250

So at the end of the day, by you selling your home on Zillow by owner, you’re looking for a savings of roughly $6,250.  Now ask yourself – if you listed your property with a real estate marketing company, like myself and the other amazing agents in the Spokane area, could they increase your gross sales price by providing that extra exposure?

2.   It’s not your full-time job.

Phone calls, emails, text messages, scheduling showings – there’s a lot that goes in to selling your home on Zillow, or anywhere for that matter. When working a full-time job elsewhere, the many tasks involved can become more of a burden than the cost to hire a professional. A Realtor will take on all of those tasks, and any others and make sure your home has maximum exposure on the market.

For example, I’ve called homeowners trying to sell their house themselves, and trying to get my clients into the property was like pulling teeth!  The sellers were never available to show the house. Not being available to show it only increases overall market time of a property, which is big negative. The longer your house is on the market, the less likely you are to sell it at or above list price.

3.  It’s much harder to keep your emotions out of the transaction.

If you list the top 5 most stressful moments in your life, buying and selling a home will most likely appear in the list. Using an agent opposed to selling your home on Zillow can help insulate you from the emotional highs and lows throughout the transaction. Repeated rejections, overzealous follow-up, and possibly lack of interest from potential buyers can have an ill effect on your usually normal life. Having an advocate like a Realtor who is trained to navigate these situations can make the transition much easier.

Buyers are going to come in and want to change many of the things you loved in your home.  What if they wanted to tear that wall out that you measured your kids on?  Don’t let those memories get the most of you, especially in negotiations.  You had your time in the house, now it’s someone else’s turn.  This is a business decision and you need to stay focused on the numbers for your next transition to create new memories.

4.  Agents have a much more in-depth marketing plan than you will.

Zillow.com is the number 1 real estate website, and averages more than 30 million unique visits per month. Knowing that, any good marketing plan needs to include that site. But, what other tactics are there besides selling your home on Zillow? Well for starters there’s Trulia, which was bought by Zillow last year. Craigslist is also popular for sellers to advertise homes for sale. In order to utilize realtor.com, Redfin, and Yahoo! Real Estate,  you will need to use an agent, as these sites pull information directly from the multiple listing service (MLS). Agents also have exclusive access to premier marketing packages, which aren’t available to the public.

5.   Negotiations Suck.

Even if you have a sales background, you probably don’t have real estate sales background – and it’s a totally different animal. Remember those emotions? Here’s where they really come in to play. You finally accept an offer (for an average of $40k less and in 19 more days than listing with a Realtor®) and then you have to be prepared to deal with:

·       The buyer who wants the best deal possible

·       The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer

·       The buyer’s attorney

·       The home inspectors who work for the buyer and will always find something wrong with the house

·       The appraiser if there is a question of value

·       Your bank in the case of a short sale

Now don’t get me wrong – you absolutely can be  successful at selling your home on Zillow without an agent. It is very possible, and will be quite a rewarding (and cost saving) experience. I like to compare it to winning the lottery though – it will either be a great achievement or very expensive experience.

If you have any questions, or want to discuss your particular situation, please feel free to reach out!


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Haven Real Estate Group
Cambria Henry
304 W Pacific Ave; Suite 360
Spokane, WA 99201
509-590-4701

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