This question has popped up everywhere over the past 5 months. On Facebook it’s in the mommy groups, homeschool groups, homesteader groups…everywhere! When selling your home, is it really that necessary to use a realtor? Since we changed our minds in regards to this in the middle of selling our house, we can see the pros and cons of both sides. I’ll share our story, which will explain why we didn’t think we needed one at first, but how we came to be so thankful we ended up using one.
The first thing you need to do is decide to sell your home. It might sound easy, but there are many factors to consider when making your decision. We always knew we were in our first (or “starter”) home, and one day we’d likely move. But we figured we would be here for 10 years or more. We started several large projects last summer/fall that we planned to continue this year. It wasn’t until this past December when a friend informed me that it is currently a sellers’ market in our city that my curiosity about the possibility ignited. I mentioned it to Tom, who didn’t immediately shoot it down. Naturally I took that as a maybe, and decided to do more research on the subject. I discovered that was indeed a sellers’ market, especially where we live. It went from just a thought, to a dream, to a possibility. We knew each step was led by the Holy Spirit, and we prayed before making each decision, waiting for God’s peace. We also knew that it wasn’t our decision to up and sell our house when I was pregnant with our third baby. But God is faithful, just as His Word promises, and He gave His peace with each step. This kind of life altering decision making has happened a few times previously in both of our lives, so we knew it was Him and that we could trust Him.
After having made the decision to sell our home, we knew we needed to make a choice about whether to use a realtor or not. Several older couples we talked to encouraged us that we didn’t need a realtor, as they had sold at least one home on their own (later we discovered they had sold their first homes with realtors, and then their second or third house they sold on their own). Some of the reasons why we decided to sell it on our own, and the steps that led us there included the following.
- We made an appointment with the realtor who sold us this house to come and see what we did with it (major transformation on the house) and to find out if it was worth selling. She was incredibly helpful, with lots of information like why this is a sellers’ market right now, and good insight into how to finish fixing things. My favorite hint: finish things, make them nice, but you don’t have to spend hours on every little thing. Our home was a HUD home, and although we’ve poured lots of time and money into making it nice, we haven’t even touched certain parts of the house. So don’t try and make everything into what you saw in your dreams, just finish the areas that were started and complete those. Once she discovered we wanted to sell on our own she encouraged us to try it (we had found a place we really liked that belonged to an old friend of Tom’s, but knew we needed as much from our house as we could to put in an offer).
- We talked with multiple older homeowners who had confidence we could sell it on our own, since they had done so with at least one of their homes. We knew it would be more involved, but figured saving that 3% on agent fees would be worth it.
- Then we heard that we could list our home on MLS via online companies that were legitimate, and that doing so would save us hundreds of dollars. Since it is a sellers market, we figured we could still get a lot of attention and traffic. For many people, this would be a great option.