Should I Sell It Myself?

2013-03-30T00:00:00Z Should I Sell It Myself?With Peter G. Miller CTW Features nwitimes.com
March 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Question:

I am widowed and own the house I live in. I might move in the next year or two. My house is assessed at $268,000. If I could sell the home on my own, would it be a mistake to avoid using a broker? What are the services that a broker offers that make them necessary for a sale?

Answer:

As an owner, you always have the right to sell your own property. That said, you also have an obligation to act in your own best interest – and selling your own home is unlikely to maximize net sale results.

For instance, the assessed value of your property is $268,000. That is the value for tax purposes – but not necessarily the current fair market price.

Why? In some jurisdictions, assessment increases are limited to control property tax increases. In others, homes are only valued every three years. Basing a home sale on assessments is a way to potentially lose big money.

Long ago, self-selling with the assistance of an attorney for legal work made some sense. Back in the 1970s, a real estate contract might run a few pages. Today, contracts with their related addenda and disclosures are lengthy enough to look like full magazines.

Contracts are longer now because both sides want to reduce liability, maximize options and gain leverage in the transaction.

Speak with local brokers to see what services are available and at what costs. Visit open houses to see which brokers best represent owners. Ask about education and experience.

Have brokers look at your home and get a comparative market analysis (CMA) from each. Note that the CMA, which suggests the highest value, is not necessarily the best if it cannot be justified by recent, like and nearby sales.

For most people, a home is their largest asset. It makes sense to protect what you have. In today's marketplace, that typically means finding the best broker.

Email peter@ctwfeatures.com. Due to volume, not all questions may be answered.

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