For Sale By Owner

I've been seeing more of these signs around, and I'm wondering if the real estate business is starting to feel the pinch yet. The real estate industry, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in particular, has been fighting charges of anti-competitiveness for years. However, it would seem that the biggest competition may now be the homeowners themselves!

It's good to see that real estate agents do have competition beyond their fellow agents. After all, agents need to work together, and so pricing other agents out of the market may or may not make sense. However, if you have to compete with a smart population that is willing to do some of the legwork to sell themselves, then you better be earning that commission.

I personally think that an agent can be an asset. However, I also think that in a seller's market, an agent may or may not do much for the seller. It all depends how much of the work you are willing to do yourself. Are you willing to show your home? Are you willing to field telephone calls? Are you willing to run your own ads? If so, you might prefer the control of the selling process yourself.

On the other hand, if you live in a household with two working spouses, and not enough time as it is, it may make sense to use an agent. After all, the agent is a known contact point, and they are available when you are not. You can make arrangements with your agent for your home to be shown at times when you are typically out. It can be very convenient.

Just remember that convenience comes with a price. A little shopping around on your part for an agent won't hurt. Some agencies have lower commission rates; some agents will be willing to deal with you, depending on the value of your home. Don't just sign up for the "advertised" agent commission structure without taking a bit of time to check things out. After all, it can't hurt and it could save you a lot in commission costs.


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