Selling cars and furniture on Craigslist can be easily accomplished and encourages people to give Zillow and a “for sale by owner sign” a try for the family home. However, from earning more money on the sale or avoiding unnecessary home repairs, attorney Kim Hollingshead says people may want to rethink their home sale strategy by enlisting professional help.
Hollingshead, president and co-founder of Touchstone Title & Escrow outside Nashville, says experience has proven time and again a home seller can save themselves some big problems and definitely earn more money on the home sale by using the services of a licensed Real Estate Agent.
“It may not seem like residential real estate is a very technical field, if you enjoy watching House Hunters International or Property Brothers. Don’t get me wrong: I love those shows! But, with constantly changing real estate laws and regulations, I’ve seen friends and clients miss out on so much money by not having qualified assistance in navigating their unique market,” Hollingshead said.
Although she’s not a real estate agent, Hollingshead knows from years of home closing experience the pitfalls of owners representing themselves. Here are her top reasons to use an agent – proving selling a home is a marathon, not a sprint!
1. Keep it Professional. The first persons to whom Real Estate Agents market a home are other Real Estate Agents. Agents know the lingo and the way in which to best present a home. Some Real Estate Agents even decline to show For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings to avoid all the headaches. By hiring a professional to list a home on the MLS, people will attract more buyers and the transaction will be handled professionally.
2. Always Look the Best. People have to be able to sell their home to buyers, of course. Real Estate Agents know all the tricks of the trade to make a home look its best, sell quickly and for the most money.
3. Get the Ducks in a Row. Sellers have to prove to the title company that they can convey “free and clear” or “marketable” title. This can be especially difficult if it is an estate sale, short sale or elderly trust case. The title company will assist you with the paperwork, but it is your Real Estate Agent who acts as the go-between, keeping everyone informed and satisfied.
4. The Home is Worth What? Banks are now required to seek independent appraisals of the value of a home. This means homeowners must be able to work with the appraiser – key to yielding the most money in the sale. What can sellers do to combat a bad appraisal? The Real Estate Agent will find comps that work and point out important features, such as missed square footage.
5. Inspection Homework! Many FSBO’s list their home for less than market value in hopes of a quick sale and feel saving money on the Real Estate Agent’s commission gives them the wiggle room they need to do so. The problem is they forget to factor in the cost of repairs. Real Estate Agents work closely with home inspectors and know what repairs a home inspector is going to recommend, factoring the cost into the list price. Home inspectors are important in the process of a home sale, but an experienced agent will help the seller avoid costly and unnecessary home repairs through knowledgeable negotiating.
A seller acting as his or her own agent is difficult when people need a professional advocate for the biggest transaction of their life – the sale of a personal home. An advocate reminds sellers to turn off utilities, assists in transferring warranties and security systems and helps sellers remember 100 different items they might overlook trying to pack and working through the stress of a new adventure.
“Most importantly, I’ve seen clients miss out on thousands of dollars in the sale of their home due to good intentions and lack of information. It pains me to see this, but, after working with so many qualified, smart Real Estate Agents, I know this is something which can be easily avoided,” Hollingshead said.
Kim Hollingshead, Esq., is President and Co-owner of Touchstone Title & Escrow, a Nashville-area, full-service, residential real estate closing and escrow company. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and David Lipscomb University. Hollingshead is also a member of the American Land Title Association, Tennessee Land Title Association, Tennessee Bar Association, National Association of Realtors as well as the Middle Tennessee, Greater Nashville and Williamson County Association of Realtors.