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For Sale By Owner: Do You Really Need a Realtor?

“I can do this myself!” you say proudly as you drive the sale sign into your front lawn with all your might. Well, although you very well may be more than capable of handling the process yourself, do not assume it is going to be a piece of cake. Sure, you will likely save yourself some money, but selling a house is stressful and time-consuming, and there are a lot of legalities involved. If you are set on doing this on your own, you should first make sure you understand what you will be facing.


  • Real Estate Regulations – Do you know that real estate regulations typically change every year and vary from one state to the next? So, do not assume that regulations are the same as when you purchased your home years ago. Realtors are required to stay current in updates in contracts, laws, practices, and regulations.
  • Agents Act as Buffers – You may be excited when you have an overflow of emails and voicemails from people interested in your home. However, about the 10th time you go out-of-the-way to show the house, or receive spam email back from your response, you may find yourself wishing you had an agent to filter out the garbage.
  • Networking Capabilities – Realtors network with other realtors. In fact, many are friends. So, they know if there is a buyer looking for something specific in a home. Many homes are sold simply because they were shown to an individual based on what the realtor knew they were looking for.
  • Pricing – You can guess at what your home is worth. You might even create your asking price based on similar homes in your neighborhood. However, that does not mean the houses are actually selling for that amount. Maybe large or more extravagant homes are selling for less a few miles away because sellers are more eager to sell over there. A realtor will help determine the best asking price.
  • Negotiations – Just because you bantered with a car salesperson for three hours and ultimately ended up paying invoice does not mean you will excel at negotiating a house price. Little do you know the car manufacturer had a hefty cash back incentive for dealers, so they really did not even mind reducing your vehicle price. Hey, it was a snowy Tuesday afternoon, and there was nothing else going on at the dealership any way. Negotiating a house price is very different. Not only are you talking about a large scale purchase, a realtor will bring an objective opinion to the table. You might allow your feelings to dictate your actions because you are emotionally attached to the house.
  • Paperwork – Do you remember how many times you signed your name when you purchased your home? Contracts can be dozens of pages long, and this does not even include addendums and riders. Selling a house requires a significant amount of paperwork and since every page is full of legalities, there is no margin for error. This reason alone may be worth the fee they charge from a sale.
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