Do you have what it takes to sell your own house?

Home for saleAre you thinking of selling your house? Are you considering trying to do it on your own or will you enlist a realtor?

Selling your own home can save you lots (and lots) of money in real estate commissions, but realize what you are taking on. Selling your home involves far more than sticking a for sale sign in the ground. A lot more (and I speak from experience). There are a few things you need to decide before you take on this task on your own.

Do you have time?

One thing a realtor does is take care of the showings, open houses, marketing etc. Do you have the time (and the contacts and knowledge) to manage all of those things? If you are already juggling work and family, you need to determine where you are going to fit this in before you start.

The fine print

How comfortable are you with documentation and with negotiating? You’ll still enlist a lawyer to help you work through the details of the sale, but you alone will be running the show on the offers and counter-offers. How are your negotiation skills?

Recognize that your house is also your home- where you and your family lay your roots. It is natural to have a strong emotional attachment. Will this interfere with your ability to sell it?

How’s the market?

Is your local market strong, or are you in one of the pockets that is experiencing a downturn? Know that ultimately, the market is going to dictate the price that you are going to get, and not the other way around. A challenging market calls for more aggressively sales strategy. Can you do it?

Calculate the real costs

Don’t make your decisions based on commissions only. If there is a possibility that you might take a while to sell your home on your own, remember that you are going to incur carrying costs (i.e. extra interest on your mortgage) as well as taxes, etc.. Something to think about.

If you do go with a realtor

If you are paying commission, then make sure you get a realtor that will do the job that you expect. Interview a few, and get one that has a solid track record. Inquire about what you are getting for your commissions (i.e. where and how often do they advertise, what are their connections, how do they operate, etc. etc.). Interview past clients as well.  Using a realtor is only worth the commission if you are going to get the appropriate service for what you are paying for.