Houston Home Selling: Should I Sell My Home Without A Realtor?
When a home owner is interested in selling their house, they may consider either listing their home with a Realtor, or selling it themselves as a “For Sale by Owner.”
Following is a “behind the scenes look” at some of the services that a Realtor provides when selling a home, so you can be more informed about the aspects of a real estate agent’s significant role in this transaction. Hopefully it answers the question: should I sell my home without a realtor?
Before a house is even listed on the market, the Realtor is working hard to make it a quick and worthwhile sale for the owner.
Before the house is listed, the agent will:
- Research other properties in the local area that have been a) recently sold, b) available on the market, c) expected to be on the market in the near future (builder homes, renovations, new condo & townhome developments, etc.);
- Analyze recent sales activity taken from the Houston MLS and private databases to compare days on market, price, price per square foot and other comparable information;
- Discuss property tax roll
- Create a comparable market analysis to allow the seller to see where their house compares to the market;
- Verify ownership and deed type as well as public property records;
- Provide an independent an assessment of the house identifying staging and showing opportunities;
- Explain the public school value;
- Provide the homeowners with a listing presentation outlining marketing recommendations, listing contract, and staging and marketing opportunity areas.
During the listing presentation, most Realtors provide the summary analysis of the comparable market analysis, review the condition of the Houston marketplace in addition to the local neighborhood statistics, provide their own credentials, discuss the details that will need to be put into place to sell the home such as holding open houses, personal marketing plan, Houston MLS listing details and other various advertising tactics. They should also explain the homeowner’s warranty and other listing features that could be considered during the sale.
Once the property is actively listed, the agent’s role and responsibilities become even greater.
To prepare for the most effective listing, Realtors will:
- Review the property title;
- Prepare a list of the property’s amenities;
- Prepare a list of what’s included and excluded in the property sale (kitchen appliances, washer / dryer, fixtures, etc.);
- Prepare a known issues disclosure form;
- Prepare a list of repairs to be made
- Obtain a plat map, which will show the different divisions of a particular piece of land;
- Arrange a lockbox to be placed on the property so it can be shown to prospective buyers;
- If the home has any rent units (such as a back garage or existing tenant), prepare rental agreements;
- Place listing signs;
- Arrange open houses;
- Create property brochure and listing sheet for distribution your specific marketing plan (e.g. mailings, custom website like 914main.com or 2301persa.com, newspaper and magazine advertising, Internet marketing advertising and listing exposure, etc.)
- Assist you in staging your home for photos;
- Arrange a photographer for your home’s listing photos;
- The agent will also prepare disclosure packages.
When you home is officially “listed” for sale, a real estate agent’s action items include:
- Place the listing on the Houston MLS system;
- Include accurate details, quality photos and well written copy to accompany the MLS listing;
- Distribute your home’s information to local Realtors;
- Determine showing times;
- Coordinate and hold general public and/or broker open houses;
- Market your home online through their website
- Create a custom website for your property;
- Gain additional internet marketing distribution with frequent posts to places like Craigslist, Google Base, Microsoft Live and other online listing repositories.
- Coordinate and accompany showings;
- Create and distribute flyers;
- Compare the property with other MLS listings;
- Notify the Network Referral Program;
- Create feature cards highlighting the main points of interest in and around the property;
- Receive and respond to emails and faxes;
- Speak with interested parties and Realtors representing interested parties to obtain showing instructions, ask for mortgage information, analyze any homeowner association fees as well as bylaws, complete and send homeowner warranty information, place homeowner warranty information to the MLS listing, and review utilities and get appropriate inspections.
Once offers start to come in for the property, the agent handles these contracts and provides information to the seller and the buyer, or the buyer’s agent. Once an offer is received, the seller’s agent will analyze the net sheet, and offer advice on the offer. They will then provide the buyer with the seller’s disclosure sheet and get a pre-qualification letter from the buyer.
They will work with the seller and buyer regarding counteroffers and amendments, and they will deliver offers of purchase. They will provide advice and support with escrow accounts, and update the listing with a “sale pending” status. They will also review credit reports and deliver any property information that has not yet been shown. If needed, they will order inspections pertaining to well flow, termites, and mould. They will work with any lender’s to confirm the loan agreement, the buyer’s employment, and loan approval. They will then remove any loan contingencies from the offer to purchase.
The agent will then work to coordinate any inspections that will be done on the property. They will arrange for a home inspector to come in and then review the report with the seller and buyer. They will also confirm that any repairs still needed have been done and meet with the appraiser who will then come to perform another inspection. They will provide both the buyer and seller with the appraiser’s report and then remove any contingencies on the offer relating to the home inspection and the appraisal.
Once the house has been sold and all inspections are complete and financing is in place, the agent still has a few more things to do. They will ensure that the contract is sealed and organize closing procedures. They will make one last walk-through of the property to ensure that it can be turned over to new owners, and make homeowner warranty available. They will coordinate any final deposits that need to be made, update the MLS listing as “sold.” They will finish any details left on paperwork and finally, give the new owner the keys to the property.