In our current market, the question of whether or not to use an agent to sell your home has been one of the hot questions. Why? Well because in a market where sellers are strongly in favor, you have a few things happen...
One: more agents join the business, which means you have tons of inexperienced agents who don't have the slightest idea about protecting you to sell your home. Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with this, because we all got started somewhere. What is more of the concern is that a new agent doesn't have a team of experience and support backing them up through every step of the process. But because there is a larger percentage of new agents, that can sometimes cloud a consumer's experience, and they opt to avoid working with an agent altogether, thinking that they'll do just as good of a job.
Two: when the market strongly favors sellers, as long as a home is priced correctly, it'll likely sell. So sellers may not see the benefit in paying an agent to list their home, when they can list it on Zillow and other for-sale-by-owner (aka FSBO) websites and sell it themselves.
Naturally, any real estate agent is going to argue against listing your home on your own. But why is that? Is it just so we, as an industry, can continue to make money? Is there another reason behind it? And are there any concerns with the thought process of sellers who want to sell their home on their own? Let's delve into all of these questions!
First and foremost, of course real estate agents want to make money! It's funny - this subject lands differently in our culture, as if there is something wrong with agents wanting to make money. But don't you want to make money too? Don't you enjoy paying your bills (okay maybe "enjoy" is a stretch ha!), enjoy electricity and heat and groceries and the occasional vacation? It's the same for realtors... but I really had to look at this myself. I've been conditioned in this culture that there is something wrong with wanting to make money and having any sort of financial wealth. So I know that's a common cultural thought process that circulates among many homeowners, without them even realizing it does. The thing that is different about a career as a real estate agent, as opposed to being employed by a W2 employer, is that we are business owners. We have no sick leave, no vacation leave, and we don't get paid until a home sale closes. We also are responsible for hefty taxes (no matter what our gross income is), preparing for retirement (hopefully), and business expenses, as well as saving up for the slow months. So if your agent is intentional with their finances, they're probably only living off of a fifth of a sixth of the money you're paying them to sell your home.
Now that I've gone down that necessary rabbit trail, there is a bigger reason why agents push so heavily for you to sell their home with their help: it protects you. I'm going to say that again:
Picture this: my car is making funny noises and I know I need to get it looked at and fixed, but I'm not sure I want to pay a professional to do it. (I like this analogy because we often don't trust mechanics, just like we often don't trust real estate agents.) So instead of researching and finding an honest professional, I go to YouTube and watch a bunch of videos, and find what I think is probably wrong, and I order parts based on that, and start replacing them. Maybe I actually do replace the parts correctly, but come to find out, the new parts didn't solve the issue. Instead, the problem still exists and I'm not sure if I just wasted time and money, or if it helped in any way. Now why would I have such difficulty? Because I don't know the ins and outs of cars. I don't work on cars every day. So although YouTube can tell me what I need to know, and show me step by step tutorials, it doesn't account for knowing all of the complexities underneath a car's hood, which only comes from knowing how everything works.
If you're getting my drift from this analogy, real estate is very much the same way! Selling a home is actually practicing law - we are licensed to practice real estate law within the limited scope of our license. That means that we have one focus, and we know the ins and outs of it. We know what there is to look for, all of the different setbacks that can occur and how they impact one another, and we're expected to anticipate these things throughout the course of the sale. It actually terrifies me to think of people selling their home on their own, especially if no agent is involved. I know the potential risks that can arise, and it can land people being sued in court for tens of thousands of dollars, and to me, that risk is never worth it.
This naturally leads into another point - having a real estate attorney coordinate the transaction is NOT the same as using a real estate agent. A real estate attorney does the same job as an escrow officer. Okay, I have a feeling people from both of those professions are cursing me right now. But what I mean is that they have the same overarching responsibilities, which is to coordinate the sale. They are not there to give you advice (especially because the attorney typically has to remain neutral since they're managing the whole sale), and they aren't being paid to protect you in the same way.
Here is the number one reason why I am so vocal about using a real estate agent to sell your home: 85% of all FSBO sales (where there is no agent involved on either side) end up in some sort of legal litigation. 85% is a huuuuuuge number, way way more than I'd be comfortable with. If there is even just one agent involved (like if you agree to pay a buyer's agent's 3% commission), it greatly reduces the risk of something like this happening. Even with paying a buyer's agent and not your own, that agent is still responsible for carrying the entire responsibility and liability of the transaction. Now, that doesn't mean they will negotiate for you, that's your own agent's job, but they'll at least oversee things to protect you much more so than any other scenario where you're on your own.
I covered a lot in this blog, and I hope you get how important it is to me that YOU as a seller are protected in your home sale. If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text me at 509-844-5843.
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