Your Questions Answered
At Ashlar, I firmly b that an educated home buyer or seller is best equipped to make their own decisions. That’s why I take time out of my day each and every day to answer someone’s real estate question. And, when I think the answer can be useful to you as well, I share it here. So without further ado:
Everyone hates Realtors until they get royally screwed by something that even the most cursory of glances by a professional would have caught.
I have done more than my fair share of For Sale By Owner contracts and Open style Listings. The only ones that were any good at it are owners that were agents in other states but aren’t licensed here or inactive Florida agents that had some time in the business years ago.
And seeing the types of contracts most FSBOs put together…. well, let’s just say if things don’t go exactly straight it’s going to be a lot of arguing because they are usually woefully unclear on their contingencies and more than a few I’ve seen are downright illegal/unenforceable.
To add even more dumbness to this, the contracts every Realtor uses are free and widely available. But for some reason, folks think their 1 page with 5 paragraphs is good enough.
And no, the title company’s job is not to review the contract and make sure everything is on the up and up. Their job is to perform title searches, issue title insurance policies, and close the transaction. They are not there to represent or advise anyone.
Just plain For Sale By Owners are a dream to negotiate with because they have either no or outdated conceptions of what is and is not part of a typical transaction.
But that’s if you can get a hold of them because most FSBOs also don’t understand marketing or the new full-time career they’ve decided to take on which is marketing and facilitating showings.
The funny thing though, is most agents don’t either. So if it’s Sell it Yourself or choose a terrible agent.. then yeah, do it yourself.
However, a great agent will advise you on ways to improve the home so that it will present a lot better, netting huge gains in demand and thus higher and better offers.
Everyone, including the homeowner, believes the hallmark of a well-marketed home is getting to the closing table. THAT IS FALSE.
Being a great agent is all about advising the buyers and sellers that are trusting you with full, complete, and honest information, advising them of pros, cons, and potential problems. A great agent is also alert for opportunities, either to negotiate for more favorable terms for buyers or keeping extremely current on marketing and market forces to better position homes being listed.
Once under contract, we convert to project managers, making sure the transaction is completed in an orderly fashion and that any issues that arrive have possible solutions that both the buyer and seller can find agreeable.
Also, I sold properties myself before becoming a Realtor… looking back it was tremendously foolish. There is just WAY too much to know and unless you are doing it full time it is extremely easy to get manipulated, or is selling yourself easy to miss something critical and potentially put yourself on the hook for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Here’s a final hint… A licensed real estate professional selling their own home, a home of a family member, or a home they have a business interest in, are required to disclose that. It’s because we are expected to have a much larger level of knowledge and skill when it comes to real estate transactions than the public at large.