When you’re thinking of selling your home here in Pittsburg you have several choices:
- List with an agent
- Offer the home For Sale by Owner
- Sell to an investor
- Sell to one of the new “We buy homes” companies
As a REALTOR® I do believe that listing your home is the best choice.
We agents have more contacts, more places to showcase your home online, and more experience in everything from setting the right price to negotiating the offer and guiding the transaction through closing.
A top agent will guide you on how to prepare your home to gain a top dollar, will advise you on staging, and will use professional photography, virtual tours, and even aerial photography to showcase your home.
In addition, agents are bound by the Code of Ethics and have the Fiduciary duty to their clients. Investors and the buy out companies have the duty only to themselves.
The disadvantage: You’ll need to get the house ready to show and you’ll need to make it available for showings – sometimes at inconvenient times. You’ll also have to have the house ready for inspections and appraisals, perhaps re-negotiate after those results come in, and wait for the buyer’s lender to give final approval.
When you sell For Sale by Owner you don’t have to pay a real estate commission.
The disadvantage: Statistics show that homes sold by owner sell for considerably less and take longer to sell. One reason is the fact that most individuals have no idea how and where to market their homes online, and that’s where about 95% of all buyers begin their home searches.
In addition, FSBO sellers are tasked with the job of showing, negotiating, etc. Would you know how to qualify a buyer? Would you feel comfortable calling the buyer’s lender to discuss their pre-approval before accepting an offer? A good agent would.
You’ll also be responsible for making sure every line in the contract says what you hope it says. Here in California, our purchase contracts are typically X pages long. Some of those pages are required disclosures – and most people aren’t even aware that they exist until an agent presents them. A wrong move on the sellers part can cost thousands – and can even trigger a lawsuit.
That being the case, if you’re selling For Sale by Owner, you really should have a competent real estate attorney on hand.
After all that, you’ll face the same insecurities over the appraisal and inspections, and you’ll still have to be patient as you wait for the buyer’s lender to say the transaction is clear to close.
Selling to an investor has a few advantages.
- You don’t have to get the house “show-ready.”
- You don’t have to make the house available for multiple showings.
- Investors generally purchase as-is.
- You can usually get a firm offer within a day or two.
- Closings are usually fast – but investors are flexible, should you need extra time.
- Quite often there is no inspection nor appraisal required because they do their own inspections and pay cash.
The disadvantage: They will pay you considerably less than you’ll get by offering the house on the open market.
Selling to one of the new “We buy houses” companies is probably the poorest choice.
Why? First, because their offered price will be far under market value, but that’s not the worst of it. Worst is that their contracts often have loopholes.
An independent investor will quote you a price based on his or her evaluation of the home’s condition. The price they quote is the price they’ll pay. It may even include paying your share of the closing costs – so you’ll know the bottom line before you accept the offer.
These new companies often have a different approach. In some cases, their contracts include a clause that allows them to reduce the price after receiving the results of an inspection. In other cases, they have a built-in, standard repair deduction that comes off the stated offer price.
The price you’re quoted at first glance is not the price you’ll receive at closing.
My best advice: If you’re thinking of accepting such an offer, take the contract to an attorney first. Have him or her go over it to make sure it means what you think it means.
And… why not hire an appraiser? Then you’ll know if the offer they give is a good one – or if you’ll walk away leaving $20,000 or $30,000 on the table.
If you’re thinking of selling your home in Pittsburg and can’t decide which route to take, call me. I’ll be happy to show you what other homes like yours are selling for in today’s market. I’ll also be happy to show you what I do to put my listings in front of the most possible qualified buyers.