The Cost of Selling Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent06 Mar 2019
Everybody likes to save a little money. So when Rossana was ready to sell her condo a few years ago, she figured she could save some cash by selling it herself — without using a real estate agent. After all, her property was in a hot real estate market and she thought: "How hard could this be?"
Rossana, a busy mother of one, had become overwhelmed juggling her daily responsibilities in addition to managing her rental condo. She had grown tired of being a landlord and dealing with a revolving door of tenants — so when the family currently renting it was moving out, she decided that it was time to sell.
In hopes of saving some money, Rossana chose to sell her condo herself instead of working with a real estate agent. She thought: How hard could it be? She figured it would be easy to just hire a company that charges a flat fee to photograph the condo for her and advertising the property online. After all, she could handle the rest of the details herself. Right?
What she quickly discovered was that this approach didn’t work.
“I found the service I used was not the best,” Rossana says. First, she says the service might have turned off potential buyers with unprofessional photos, “Honestly, I could have done a better job if I had done it myself.”
Second, when it came to marketing her property, Rossana says the marketing plan wasn’t aggressive enough to expose her condo listing to a large population of potential buyers. “My condo just didn’t get the same visibility if it would have had on MLS.”
Her condo was not widely promoted, and the service she used was not authorized to advertise on Realtor.ca (also known as MLS), which is many Canadians’ first stop when starting their home search.
Low Buyer Confidence
Rossana found buyers who had real estate agents wouldn’t come to view her property since she was selling it herself. “I think they lacked confidence that the sale would go through, or that it would be a complicated process because I didn’t have an agent.”
While she wasn’t getting a great deal of interest, Rossana still had to be on-site for open houses over the weekends. “I was living at the other end of the city at the time, so the commute was terrible. It was so much work, but I wasn’t getting much traction.”
Less-than Attractive Offers
When offers did get presented, they were far below the listing price. Plus, agents came in very confident with their clients’ offers, and Rossana didn’t feel she had the experience to handle these types of negotiations.
“I felt people were trying to take advantage of me, because I was trying to sell on my own. And I didn’t have the full picture of the market. I didn’t have the background to stand up to those low offers.”
Making the Decision to Hire an Agent
After more than five weeks of trying to sell the property on her own, Rossana decided to list her home with a professional real estate agent, after getting a referral from a friend.
“I immediately saw the difference in having a real estate professional in my corner,” Rossana recalls. “She offered staging, took really nice photos, and her level of professionalism was so impressive. And when there was an offer coming in, she was able to negotiate on my behalf.”
In the end, Rossana sold her condo — about two weeks after hiring an agent — and for a price she was very happy with.
“I really underestimated the amount of time an effort needed to sell a home myself. For anyone looking to sell their home, I highly recommend working with a real estate professional.”
Reasons to Use a Real Estate Professional
Rossana’s experience is a valuable tale for those thinking of taking a DIY approach to selling a home. While there is a cost to selling with a real state agent in the form of commission, the cost to sell without one may be greater.
Here are five benefits to working with a real estate agent:
- Market Knowledge. Rossana’s real estate agent knew what comparable condos in her neighbourhood had sold for, and the inventory on the market at the time. This enabled her to have an informed perspective on a reasonable listing price and acceptable end selling price.
- Visibility and Presentation. From professional staging to high quality photos, Rossana’s real estate agent presented her home in a highly attractive manner that was appealing to potential buyers. And because she could list the property on Realtor.ca, those looking for properties online could browse the photos and features of Rossana’s condo 24/7.
- Administration and Coordination. One of the things that Rossana underestimated was the time commitment required to sell a home privately. Her real estate agent took care of all the showings and open houses, allowing Rossana to be completely hands off until it came time to review an offer.
- Professional Real Estate Networks. As an established agent, Rossana’s real estate agent could connect with others working with buyers in the neighbourhood, and present the property to those in her network, further widening the net of potential purchasers.
- Negotiation Skills. Rossana’s real estate agent had significant experience negotiating deals and was in a great position to get Rossana the best possible price for her condo — Rossana didn’t have to do any of the negotiating herself.
Thinking about selling your home? Let Rossana’s story be a reminder of the benefits to working with a real estate professional.