Thursday, April 26, 2018

Do it yourself or not- why a FSBO may not be the best option when selling

In today's do it yourself world we often learn the hard way that sometimes it may be easier to pay someone.  There is an article in today's NYT Smarter Living section that suggests the importance of knowing one's strengths and weaknesses.  Click here.  Let's face it we can't be a jack of all trades in everything.

How often do you try to fix something minor at your house only to make it worse.  My husband recently tried this with a sink faucet and accidentally broke the inner faucet valve and now we need to replace the entire fixture.  Sadly this model has been discontinued and we now need to replace both sides.  Lesson learned, it cost more in the long run to do try to save a few bucks.  If you buy do-it-yourself furniture for one of your kids who is moving to an apartment out of state you can spend money to travel to help build the furniture (hotel $300 night, meals $150 plus,  transportation $100) or you may be able to hire someone from Task Rabbit to build it for under $75.  Your choice!!

Although both of these experiences were not significant in monetary value they highlight the overlooked aspect of how a well thought out plan can go wrong.  Always think time and money when factoring in a business transaction.  I always ask myself to think about the opportunity cost if I go one way when another approach may be more effective, produce a higher return and save me time in the long run.

As a realtor I am quite sensitive to this when I see potential sellers who want to sell on their own.  As a FSBO (for sale by owner)  a seller is taking all the risk of selling a property into their own hands.  Statistics show that in the long run a seller will yield a higher sale price by using a realtor and will more than cover the commission.  Further selling a property is a legal transaction and a seller must fully understand his or her legal obligations of disclosure as mandated by local regulations and Massachusetts State law prior to entering a contract with a potential buyer.  These regulations are constantly being updated and a realtor's job is to know these regulations.

By selling privately the seller risks the level of market exposure of MLS to bring the maximum number of buyers in the common market.  An example of this is highlighted here.  He/she will spend a lot of time selling and may not be as savvy in asking the best price.  An independent agents sole job is to represent the seller and do everything possible to help the seller best position the property.

Selling a house on your own is great if it sells quickly but if not this can become a challenge when you are the one showing it to potential buyers.   Can you separate your emotions from the business side of the process?  Do you want to tie up all your time to meet the buyers needs?  After an accepted offer there are times the buyer will need to visit the property for inspections, work estimates and other tasks up to the close.  There is a lot of hands on work that realtors do to make the transaction go smoothly to alleviate the time constraints on the seller.   Remember time and money are key.

Next time you get the urge to do something on your own think out the process and ask yourself if it will really save time and money in the long run.  Chances are you are better off hiring a professional to do the job at hand using their hard learned expertise.  You will be happier and less stressed. (Incidentally inventories are at an all time low and this is a great time to sell while interest rates are still reasonable.)

Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She works in both the metro-West Boston area and the lower Cape.  She loves working with first time buyers, sellers who may be downsizing and anyone else who is an enthusiastic client.  Check out her website

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