Don’t get me wrong, real estate agents provide a much-needed service to the community. They also come with expertise that the average person simply does not have with regard to how and when to sell a home. However, particularly if you have a willing buyer in mind and the patience to jump through the hoops yourself, selling your home is not as complicated as it may seem and may save you significant dollars.
1. Commissions. Know that commissions are contractual in nature. You pay a realtor a commission because you agree upon that commission in advance. A seller is not required by law to pay commissions to the buyer’s agent unless the seller has contractually agreed to do so. That being said, your buyer may have a contract with the agent, so ultimately the agent is going to get paid by the buyer, and that may be worked into your contract.
2. List Price. You will need to determine a list price for the property. You can obtain an appraisal or you can simply look online for what nearby properties have recently sold and then adjust your price based on your home details.
3. MLS. If you do not have a buyer in mind, you should list the home on some website with exposure to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Generally speaking, for a flat fee of a few hundred dollars, you can access the MLS.
4. Seek competent advice. You should meet with a real estate attorney before listing your property. Consider the real estate attorney to be the flat fee cost of selling your home. It may cost $2,000 to $3,000, but when you consider you are saving three percent on the expertise of the real estate agent, it may be worth it. Generally speaking, a real estate attorney will give you advice with regard to:
a. the Purchase Agreement;
b. filling out required Minnesota disclosure forms, including the selling disclosure, radon disclosure, septic disclosure, well disclosure, etc.;
c. walking you through what type of title work is necessary to provide and different options in that regard;
d. assist you with drafting amendments and addenda to the various agreements (but keep in mind the real estate attorney’s job is not to negotiate the price, that would be your job in taking this on);
e. review and draft documents for closing; and
f. work with the buyer’s agent, if necessary, to facilitate the closing.
In summary, while a real estate agent certainly brings value to the purchase and sale of a home, that value comes at a cost, and that cost can be limited if you choose to sell the home on your own. There are, however, a number of hoops that you need to jump through to successfully navigate the sale of your home. As with any legal matter, we can be your guide through life.