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Why you should use a real estate agent

Dear Heather: I want to sell my house. I was thinking of selling it myself so that I don't have to pay the five per cent commission to the agency. It seems like a lot of money, I am not sure I can afford it. — For Sale By Owner

Dear For Sale By Owner: There are two main reasons that people attempt to sell their property without the aid of a real estate agent. The first one is usually because they are selling to a relative or neighbour, which is fair enough. If you intend to do this however, be sure to have your property properly appraised by a qualified valuer to be sure that you are getting fair market price. The second reason is “to avoid paying agent's commission”, which in my experience is false economy and I'll tell you why.

First of all, people who target houses that are “For Sale By Owners” are typically bargain hunters or sightseers. They are well aware that the seller is not fully versed in all aspects of real estate and are looking to take advantage of an owner who is inexperienced in the art of negotiation.

Furthermore, because they know the seller is not paying commission they are likely to make a lower offer taking this into account.

As an owner it can be very difficult, not to mention time-consuming, to try and gauge whether buyers are ready with their financing. Realtors are very familiar with assisting buyers take the steps necessary for pre-approval and help ensure a seamless closing process. It is your chosen agent's job, to get the most amount of money in the shortest possible time for your home. It is a fact that only about ten per cent of “For Sale By Owners” actually sell their house themselves. The remaining 90 per cent typically realise there is more to a sale than they thought and end up putting it in the hands of a real estate agent.

Indeed, all are glad they did for a realtor can find them a buyer in a timely manner and help them in all aspects of the home selling process including marketing, boundary surveys, structural surveys, difficult tenants, pre-qualifying buyers, choosing a suitable lawyer … and the list goes on. Statistics show that when a buyer decides to start looking for a house, the first thing they do is go on a real estate website. As far as marketing goes, “For Sale By Owners” are generally limited to a yard sign, social media, the local newspaper and local websites. A realtor also uses a sign and local print media, but electronic marketing typically connects with many different websites.

For instance a property listed with Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty, will go on our company website and also links into more than half a dozen other websites, eg Coldwell Banker Worldwide, Coldwell Banker Island Affiliates, Property Skipper, Wall Street Journal, YouTube, Hamptons Co UK, etc. Remember, Bermudians (or people who want to buy here) don't just live in Bermuda, they live all over the world.

It has been proven that generally, owners that sell through an agent end up getting more money for their property, over and above allowing for the five per cent commission. So the question really is not, can you afford to list with a real estate agent, the real question is can you afford not to?

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty's leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for 25 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be answered confidentially

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Published December 01, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated November 30, 2015 at 10:38 pm)

Why you should use a real estate agent

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