“I’m just gonna try and sell it myself and save some money.”
“I don’t need a Realtor. I can take pictures and post them on Facebook”.
“You can download all forms online. Why hire a service that I can do myself?”
Technically, none of these statements are wrong. Without a Realtor, there are no commissions to be paid. Most people do have the ability to take a photo or two and post it on Social Media. There are also a lot of forms online. So why bother enlisting the help of a Realtor? Stick with me and I’ll explain.
You’re selling your home. You’ve advertised it by posting it on every online platform that you can think of, using the infamous “Zestimate” amount that based solely on what data? Who knows, but if it’s online, it’s gotta be true, right? You’ve fielded multiple calls with the same questions at all hours of the day. You’ve allowed perfect strangers into your home at the most inopportune times. But finally, you have a buyer and after much debate and number crunching, the two of you have agree on a price. The buyer assures you, he’s good for the money because he has had a solid banking relationship with his financial institution for the last 20 years. What could go wrong? You write up your generic contract, both parties sign, and all is well. You turn the contract into the title company, and the title company needs to know who is paying the associated titling fees for each party. It’s not in outlined in your simple contract and it wasn’t discussed. You’re already selling your home for less than you expected, so you tell the title company that the buyer needs to pay. The title company calls the buyer and the buyer argues that he’s already spending a lot more than he budgeted for, so the seller can pay the title fees. The title company needs an answer to proceed.
The buyer wants a friend to come check out the house and assure you that he’s not purchasing a money pit. The friend finds signs of recent water damage in the basement and determines repairs need to be made to the foundation. Who is responsible for paying for these repairs? Can the buyer get out of the contract if you don’t comply with their demands?
While the buyer’s friend is crawling around in the attic, he missteps and falls through the ceiling, causing visible damage to the home and breaking your beloved Grandma’s antique vase as he lands on the coffee table. The shattered glass makes a deep gash in his arm and there’s blood all over your white couch and tan carpet. Medical attention is sought. You learn the friend has no health coverage, so now there is a large bill. Who is responsible for the damage to your home? Who is supposed to take care of the medical bills? Does the liability fall on you as a home owner or the negligence of the man who fell?
You’re just a few weeks away from closing. You’re buying a new home in another state and getting antsy to move in. You’ve hired a moving company to assist you in this transition and you’ve coordinated a start date with your future employer. Suddenly, you get a call. The buyer drug his feet on securing financing. He did just meet with a lender, but all that furniture he charged on his credit card the week before has made it nearly impossible for him to buy your home. IF the buyer can find someone to lend him the money, he still won’t be able to close on the date that was previous agreed on. In fact, it’s probably going to be delayed a week or two. Is the contract void? Did the buyer violate the contract in any way? Is there anything you as the seller should be doing?
You’re just a few days away from closing on your home and moving. You have everything lined out and anxiously waiting for the day to arrive because you’re over sleeping on an air mattress and living out of a duffle bag. Your buyer calls. While driving, he noticed a home that had just been listed for sale. He’s had his eye on this particular home for years and it’s exactly what he wants. He states he is no longer going to purchase your home because he’s going to buy the other one. Can he walk away from this sale? Do you have any recourse against the buyer?
In an era where DIY is all the rage, it’s tempting to want to try to navigate your way through the sale of your home or the purchase of a new one. But trust me, there’s a reason the Real Estate profession is regulated. If the seller in the scenarios above had hired a Realtor, the contract would have outlined each party’s obligations and provided a remedy for situations that arise along the way. Our contracts are our bread and butter. They are legally binding tools designed to cover all bases, assign responsibility upfront, resolve any popup issues that may occur during the transaction, and provide recourse should something go awry. The examples above may seem extreme or dramatic, but honestly they’re not. Things can and do happen all the time, but having a good agent to guide you through the process, knowing you’re protected, can be worth far more than any commissions you may pay.