We’ve all heard the complaints about Realtor fees. It’s no surprise, that in this day and age, many sellers are choosing to go without the help of a Realtor. In fact, you can save as much as 7% of the sale price. Considering a $200,000 sale, that would amount to $14,000! The listing agent and the buyer’s agent usually share this as their commission. If you rather pocket $14,000 here’s how:
- Step 1: Prepare The House
- Step 2: Price The House
- Step 3: Market The House
- Step 4: Negotiate With the Buyer
- Step 5: Closing
Step 1: Prepare The House
Investing some effort up front to prepare your house for showings will significantly increase the likelihood of receiving offers soon after you list. The longer your house stays on the market, the harder it can be to sell. Consider doing the following:
1. Declutter and clean
2. Depersonalize your home
3. Paint where it needs it
4. Stage – make it feel like a home
5. Keep it clean
Doing the five things listed above will go a long way to ensure you get a top-price offer for the house.
Step 2: Price The House
Use sites like Zillow and your local county GIS (Geographic Information System) maps. Zillow is good for finding active listings in the general area of the house you’re selling. I recommend looking for comparable houses within a half-mile radius. Anything further than half a mile is too far to be considered comparable. Remember that real estate values are driven by location above all else.
Active listings are good for knowing who you’re competing against. Ideally, you would like to be the lowest-priced house in the market. A lower price will draw more buyers and may inspire a bidding war. However, using sold comparables is the best way to price your listing. Sold comps tell you what people have actually paid for real estate in the area. Similar to active listings, you want to search a half-mile radius. Zillow provides a filter that allows you to switch between listing types. You can also use your local county GIS maps. These are free and capture all local sales. NEVER use the Zillow valuations. These valuations are notorious for being way off.
Step 3: Market The House
The MLS is overrated. But, if you want it on there, several sites will charge you a flat fee to do so. The ‘For Sale By Owner’ website FSBO.com offers home-selling packages for homeowners. The packages include items like brochures and yard signs. Other free options for listing the property are zillow.com, trulia.com, and realtor.com. You can also post your house for sale on Facebook, Craigslist, and TikTok. There are costs involved in advertising the sale of your house, but they will be a fraction of an agent’s commission.
Step 4: Negotiate With the Buyer
This is the easiest part. All the hard work has been done. You’ve found a buyer. Now you need to negotiate on price. Here is the most important thing to know. The person most willing to walk away from the deal always wins the negotiation. If you are desperate the buyer will sense it and capitalize on it. Same, you will notice when buyers are desperate for the house. Here are the steps to expect.
1. The buyer will submit a contract/purchase offer.
2. You, the seller, can accept the offer, counteroffer, or reject the offer.
Until both parties agree and sign a contract, the process continues. In South Carolina, you can use any contact you like for real estate purchases. If you are not familiar with the purchase agreement, as with any contract, you should have it reviewed by an attorney.
Step 5: Closing
In South Carolina, all real estate transactions must be closed using an attorney. Be sure to call around your local area. I recommend googling the term “real estate attorney near me”. Be aware of the reviews. Attorneys are notorious for taking their time and not being very customer friendly. You could expect to pay between $500 – $2,000 in closing fees. This cost will vary based on the complexity of the transaction.
What Does a Real Estate Agent Actually Do?
Real estate agents do essentially four things to earn a commission.
1. An agent lists your house on the local MLS.
2. Markets your house on the MLS and arranges showings of your house
3. Negotiate on your behalf
4. Coordinate the closing of the house
You can easily do all these on your own. Or you can contact an investor who will pay you cash and close quickly.