Selling a Home in Today's Market

Selling a Home in Today's Market
Selling your house is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make, and how you sell it makes a difference on both your finances and your stress level.

Here's a brief description of what you're in for with each of the above:

1) FSBO - You decide how much you want for your house, you put up the sign, you make the flyers, you place the ads, you market your home to everyone you know, you answer the phone and schedule appointments for people you don't know to come through your house, and you get to make sure the house looks presentable and appealing to buyers. If you get someone interested, they may or may not have an agent, so if they don't, then you get the forms, negotiate the price and other conditions, open escrow, take care of all the state disclosures, schedule the inspections and appraisal, sign off at title and escrow, pack and move. You save a commission, but you do all of the work. And you don't get your house on MLS (the real estate Multiple Listing Service for agents) with a traditional FSBO.

Full Service Broker - You meet with an agent, they prepare a CMA - Comparative Market Analysis - for your home, with a range of recent listings and closed sales in your neighborhood, they do their listing presentation which outlines what you get for your money, including the marketing plan for your house. If you decide that you want to list with them, you sign a listing agreement, and decide on what percent you agree to pay for this service.

The normal agent's fee is between 5% and 10% which is usually split 50/50 between the listing and selling brokers. But this percentage is usually negotiable, and there's no 'standard' listing percentage, although brokers can set what they are willing to charge for listings in their particular office. In competetive markets, it's not unusual for brokers to take a listing at 2% and offer a 2.5% commission to the selling broker. Some are even taking listings for 1% on the listing side, so shop around and interview a few reputable companies in your area.

Discount Brokers - You find them online, or call a local company like Help-U-Sell, which offers an a la carte sort of listing where you pay for only the services you want, and manage the rest on your own. There are online MLS only brokers that charge a flat fee for listing your house on the MLS and send you a few basic forms, but everything else is up to you.

Whatever your decision, make sure to read the fine print on any contract that you sign.

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