Selling your home is likely to be one of the most important transactions you will make in your lifetime. Naturally, as a seller, you will want to achieve the best possible price in the shortest timeframe and with few complications.
An ideal thought in the real estate world, but one which seldom becomes a reality. Time, money and legalities can make hiccups along the way very likely.
When it comes to selling, an owner has the option to sell their property privately, avoiding real estate agent costs. However, this saving is often overshadowed by the many unexpected fees that can come with selling a property privately without industry knowledge. This lack of knowledge may end up costing a seller much more than the original fee of an agent.
Below we discuss the reasons why it is imperative to use a professional real estate agent to sell your property.
Selling at the right price
Real estate agents have the industry knowledge that assists them in pricing a property within minutes of walking through the door. If they have a lot of experience in a market, they will understand the value of the neighborhood as well, which will directly impact on the value of your property. For a seller, this ensures an accurate pricing of their property in comparison to an overestimated, or worse, underestimated figure. Overpricing will mostly likely result in the property sitting on the market for months before the seller is forced to lower price. Underpricing will see the seller lose out on potential profit.
It’s true that anyone can search online statistics and data to pull information on sales of comparable houses; however, real estate agents have the experience and area knowledge that simply cannot be obtained from an internet source.
Marketing your property
When selling a home, there’s no secret that selling for the highest possible price is a priority. Marketing is an essential part of displaying your property to potential buyers and showcasing what it has to offer. A professional marketing plan will help create buyer interest and place your property ahead of the competition. Real estate agents can offer advice and coordinate the marketing of your property for you, including preparation of floor plans, photography and flyers saving you much time and hassle. The agents experience will ensure the right marketing plan for your property, and when it comes giving your property the best chance of sale, this is crucial.
While sellers want to receive the highest price for their property, buyers are keen to pay the least amount possible- creating an understandable conflict between the two parties. Agents are experienced in the process of negotiation and will be able to use their skills to achieve a mutual agreement. It’s not always easy to act with your head, as we often form great attachments to our properties. For this reason, it can be difficult for a private seller to play the negotiator role without a mediator. It is also important to keep in mind that the selling price is not the only area of conflict between sellers and buyers where negotiation is crucial.
Real estate agents can safely play the “bad guy” in a transaction, something which is not always easy to do as a private seller. This will ensure there is no conflict between a buyer and seller which may see the deal fall through.
Unfortunately, the seller can reject a potential buyer’s offer for any reason they choose (this includes just not “liking the person”). An agent will serve as the professional middle-man who ensures that all parties are happy with outcomes through professional mediation.
Real estate transactions are complicated and have the potential to be a legal minefield. Real estate agents are governed by laws and are required to comply with the contract set between themselves and the owner of the property.
Similarly, agents have a legal obligation to buyers, to represent the property correctly and honestly.
It is important that legal framers accompany real estate transactions to avoid any complications.
A good example to consider is the sale of strata title properties (which account for a quarter of all property sales in Australia)
Under WA’s Strata Titles Act 1985, a seller of a strata property is required to provide the buyer with a series of documents. They include, but are not limited to; Form 28 - details about buying and selling a strata property, Form 29 - a copy of the default by-laws that apply to the property and a copy of the registered or proposed strata / survey-strata plan to name just a few. If the strata property is ‘off the plan’, the disclosure requirements are even wider.
With so many legal requirements to consider, the help of a professional will eliminate the stress of ensuring you are being compliant as a seller. If just one document fails to be presented, the whole sale could fall through.
Real estate agents are unable to deceive their clients. Well, ok, everyone is capable of deceiving should they want to... However, being licensed professionals, there are serious repercussions if they do and these tend to be much greater than if a private seller was to participate in deceptive behavior.
For a buyer, this means reassurance which may make them more comfortable with the idea of purchasing your home.
If you are working with a licensed real estate agent under an agency agreement, your agent will also be bound by common law to a fiduciary relationship- meaning they are bound by license law to act in your best interest and not their own.
Remember, real estate agents rely on referrals and repeat business in order to do well in the industry, therefore you can generally be rest assured they will do the right thing by you. After all, the hope is to receive a referral from you in the future.
Real estate agents have a world of knowledge and endless supply of information available to them. They also have the support and assistance from REIWA and the state government. If you choose to sell your property privately and something goes wrong, it will more often than not mean a court case and excess costs to you.