No Broker, No Real Estate Agent, No Sale

By Debbie Wilson Columnist

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You purchased your home as an investment. So it only makes sense that you should maximize your profits upon its sale. But is scrapping the traditional real estate broker really your best option? Read on to learn more about what it really takes to go it alone without a real estate agent.


Real Estate Rip-off?

There certainly are ways to buy and sell your home without the help of a real estate agent. You can do a "for sale by owner" or FSBO (pronounced fizz-bow). And if you're lucky, someone will drive by your house, see your sign, and hand you a check. Or not. Buyers today don't just drive around--they look online for properties, research neighborhoods, and download maps.

And while you might save the two to ten percent commission you'd normally pay to a full service agent, using discount brokers may cost more than you think. Many real estate Web sites allow homebuyers to peruse local Multiple Listing Services on the Internet. Yet listings sponsored by discount brokers often don't appear unless sellers are willing to pay extra for the privilege--and to get an agent from a full-service broker to show and sell your home you have to be willing to pay some kind of commission to the selling agent. Additionally, even the agents of a discount broker may have more incentive to sell other brokers' listings than their own--if they only get $500 cash for selling their own listing (your house), but would be paid 3% of the sales price by selling another broker's listing they have no reason to push yours.

The Real Estate Agent Touch

A real estate agent's job is to make the home buying or selling process easier for you, the consumer. They ensure that you don't wind up getting burned trying to tackle a complex real estate transaction. Additionally, a real estate agent can provide the human touch that a computer program just doesn't offer. But choosing just any real estate agent isn't the solution either. Be sure to locate one that knows the area well, is trustworthy, works well with your personality and style, and has a proven track record. You'll also want to be sure that your real estate agent is really working for you and not just for the profits on the sale. In some states, an agent is only allowed to represent the seller or the buyer, not both. Other states allow the agent to work for both the buyer and seller. This is called dual agency, and an agent representing both buyer and seller has a possible conflict of interest and should disclose this to you in writing.

A good real estate agent can definitely earn his or her commission by providing services ranging from promotion, to open houses, to negotiating the sale. Without these critical services, you might be left with only a few nibbles, frustration, and a house on the market.

About the Author
Debbie Wilson owns and operates a lakeside resort. Her previous experience includes profitability consulting for a national healthcare company. Debbie holds a B.A. in Business Management with a minor in Physical Education.

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