You own a home in Massachusetts. You know first hand the sacrifice it takes and the rewards it brings. It was probably the single largest purchase of your life, is now your largest asset and, if you’ve owned it for more than a few years, its value has increased far faster than any other asset you own. Before you attempt to sell it you need to know “The rest of the story”.
The National Association of REALTORS® 2006 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers survey found that homes sold with the assistance of a real estate professional sell, on average, for 23% more than for those sold by their owners without professional assistance. Specifically, homes sold with the assistance of a real estate professional sold for a median price of $385,000 compared to a median price of $312,000 for homes sold without help from an industry professional.
The survey also revealed that nationally 51% of homeowners selling without assistance used yard signs to market their homes while 31% used newspaper ads and 29% used open houses as their marketing tools. On the other hand, an overwhelming majority, 84% nationally and 79% in Massachusetts, relied on real estate agents to sell a home. In a strong housing market the reality is that few homeowners find the For Sale by Owner approach to be successful.
A smaller percentage (22%) of homeowners selling without assistance rely on the Internet to sell their homes. Those who promote this as a good idea fail to note, as the survey does clearly, that 8 of 10 buyers (80%) who initially used the Internet to search for a home ultimately employed a real estate professional to complete their purchase. FSBO's cannot gain access to MLS, nor to a real estate agent's client and personal contacts, yet 80% of sales are the result of such contacts. Knowing how and where to market your property is a very important part of what professional agents provide their clients. Not fully understanding how to best reach the market can lead to costly mistakes.
Properly pricing your home may be even more important. Price it too high and lose many potential buyers; price it too low and give away a portion of its value. Correctly pricing your home for sale, right from the beginning, may be the single most important decision a seller has to make. Typically urgency is greatest during the first few weeks a home is on the market. As a result, once the initial excitement dies down, the chances of getting the highest price for the home also diminish.
Real estate professionals value properties every day with clear, complete, first hand knowledge. They also understand how best to show a home and can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that can significantly enhance the salability and/or sale price of your home. An agent will monitor the public’s reaction to your offering price, report these reactions to you on a timely basis, and negotiate on your behalf – advising you on the best course of action for a sale to ensure it’s completed in a desirable time period and for the best possible price. They advise, you decide.
Open houses and showings that sellers do without assistance can expose them to personal and property risks and/or waste their valuable time because the prospective buyer may not be qualified to buy their home. Professional agents help avoid these problems by pre-qualifying buyers and accompanying them to the home.
The survey also found that the paperwork required for real estate transactions these days can be complex and often very confusing to both buyers and sellers. Sellers find it the most troubling part of selling without professional help. Real estate professionals and your attorney are important to completing a transaction safely and efficiently.
After signing a Purchase and Sale Agreement, scheduling and accompanying inspections, insuring that contingencies have been satisfied, and tracking the mortgage process up to the closing can be complicated and time consuming. Real estate professionals understand the process, are experienced at efficiently directing it every day and, by helping you through it, allow you to concentrate on your normal routine.
From properly pricing and intelligently marketing your property to getting through the negotiations, paperwork and contingencies, real estate professionals are trained to ensure the process goes smoothly. Realtors have the market knowledge, negotiating skills, and marketing expertise to properly price and sell a home. They are familiar with relevant laws and disclosure requirements, are trained to qualify prospective buyers, and hold no emotional attachment to the property that might compromise the sales process. Today, approximately nine out of every 10 home sellers in Massachusetts hire a real estate agent to help them complete the sale of their home.
As your single most valuable asset, the sale of your home deserves to be treated with the greatest care by an industry professional who is trained to sell it on your schedule and for the highest possible price. Why would you settle for less?
© 2006 Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®