You must be exhausted – between trying to work, creating some family time, doing your social activities, and deciding if you should sell your home by yourself or use an agent.
Selling a home by owner is usually not advised because it is a tiring process that takes time and commitment. That’s why a majority of homeowners employ the services of a housing agent, Realtor, or broker to help them sell their home. However, you could save a lot more, learn more about real estate if you are the curious type, and find the best buyer for your home if you do it right.
Suppose you decide to go ahead and sell your house without a realtor. In that case, you must keep in mind that several people shy away from buying homes sold by owners because of homeowners’ lack of experience and professionalism in the field.
Hence, we compiled below some information that will help you make the process more manageable if you decide to sell your home on your own, or utilize companies that buy houses in Virginia. We understand you have zero experience with home selling, but you should get the hang of it after gathering enough information.
What Is Selling a Home By Owner?
Selling a home by owner means you decided to sell your home without the help of a third party such as a broker or housing agent.
A home being sold by its owner is typically referred to as FSBO, or for sale by owner. In such a situation, when you decide on selling your home by yourself, you have to handle all of the sale details of the house yourself, such as:
- Determining your home’s worth
- Listing your home
- Preparing your property for sale
- Preparing the paperwork
- Marketing, advertising, and all related materials and costs
Completing the FSBO process takes time, but the benefits of selling a home by yourself are worth the effort. You must, however, be careful not to mess up the process or fall victim to scams.
Homebuyers tend to shy away from FSBO home listings because they fear being overcharged or scammed, or they receive advice from brokers or other real estate professionals.
Hence, it is advisable that even if you decide to sell your home on your own, you should seek out professionals, such as an appraiser, to help determine a fair price of your house; a photographer; and, most crucial, a real estate lawyer who can help you with all legal paperwork and contracts, unless you are familiar and comfortable enough to handle it alone.
It is mandatory in some states to hire real estate attorneys for FSBO transactions, including in New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, and others.
Although for sale by owner deals can be stressful, there are other reasons why homeowners tend to decide the use of an agent is best when planning to sell their house.
Reasons range from lack of experience to availability. A professional housing agent has experience selling homes and is familiar with the local market. An agent also has the best contacts and understands contracts and the laws associated with home sales because of their experience.
FSBO Laws in Virginia
If you plan to sell your home in Virginia, you are probably wondering what laws govern FSBO sales.
Let’s discuss some for sale by owner laws.
In Virginia, the average fee of a housing agent is 5%-6% of the total house sale, and here’s why a lot of owners consider selling their home themselves. If you decide FSBO is the best way to go, here are two laws you should keep in mind aside from legal advice from your real estate attorney.
A disclosure agreement is the legal obligation of a home seller to reveal any defects of the property for sale. These agreements differ from state to state, but since we are talking about FSBO laws in Virginia, that’s where we focus.
In Virginia, a disclosure agreement is more suited to benefit you, the seller. The buyer, on the other hand, must do proper investigations because a seller is under no legal obligations to state defects unless asked, but they also are not allowed to hide any defects.
When trying to sell your home by yourself, it is a common occurrence to unconsciously mislead a buyer by pointing out all the good parts of your home and indulging in telling them all about the little things they would enjoy that they might not have noticed at a glance. But you should never intentionally mislead buyers about any of your home’s defects or lie when asked about them.
You must submit a residential property disclosure form and statement and follow Virginia and federal property disclosure requirements to ensure you don’t end up with a lawsuit.
Here’s why you need a real estate attorney: you can ask more about real estate laws and get advice.
Fair Housing Laws
The Commonwealth of Virginia provides fair housing laws to all its citizens regardless of race, nationality, religion, sexual and gender identity, or sex; hence, be wary of discrimination when putting out any pieces of information regarding your property in the listing or marketing materials.
Also, although you own the right to choosing a buyer, this policy prohibits you from not selling your home to a buyer because of discrimination.
We advise that you receive counsel from your attorney for all legal proceedings, which is mandatory in Virginia as a seller.
Advantages of Selling a Home By Owner in VA
Going through an agent or broker to sell your home could have saved you a lot of time; however, not using a third party has several benefits that come in handy and are worth the time and effort despite the stress. Let’s discuss some of the major benefits of for sale by owner transactions, and some alternatives like selling a house for cash.
You Don’t Answer to Realtors
When you sell your home and act as your own agent, you don’t have to worry about working with someone you dislike or have ideas forced on you. Whereas working with a Realtor means doing things according to his advice and tactics because he’s the professional.
In some cases, you might have to work with a Realtor who will urge you to make an overall change in your home style and design to sell it at a higher price or make it more attractive to potential buyers.
Although you should not disregard others’ advice, especially when it comes to legal or marketing advice, you know your home best. You know its weaknesses and strengths; it might not be what everyone wants, but you know best the right buyer who would want to live there when you see them.
Therefore, rather than wasting money and time on changing the style of the property, why not focus on finding the best buyer who would appreciate the design. At least, there must be someone like you out there, right?
You Don’t Pay for Fees/Commissions
As stated earlier, an average agent commission is about 6% of the total price of a property. Let’s do the quick math.
If your property is worth $500,000, an agent would be entitled to about $30,000 after completing the sale. However, if you sell your home yourself, you could save money. Hiring a photographer, real estate lawyer, and appraiser and even paying for marketing can cost you up to $10,000, sure. But that’s a third of what an agent would receive from the profits of your home’s sale in this example.
You can save much more when going the FSBO route, but you should consider the pros and cons, such as how much time you have and your expertise.
You Control Your Selling Timeline
How long does it take to sell your home? The answer to how quickly your house will be purchased depends on its location and price and finding the best buyer, among other reasons.
If you are selling by yourself rather than using a Realtor, you can make minor changes that might help you sell faster, and you might also decide to slow down if you aren’t sure you are interested in selling your home anymore. Either way, you are in control of your selling timeline.
Also, after receiving an offer that you are satisfied with, you can close the deal as soon as you like without a third party getting in the way.
When looking for someone to buy your house in Norfolk or surrounding areas, there’s also the quick, reliable, and straight forward method of selling your home for cash. By finding cash home buyers in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and other areas, you can have a fair assessment of your property in a short amount of time. This allows you to receive cash in hand and continue on to the next phase of your life without the hassle of paperwork or realtor fees.
An additional advantage to selling to cash home buyers is that you can sell your home in whatever state it is in and avoid any costly repairs that may be necessary.
You Can Find the Right Type of House Buyers for Your Home
Here’s one of the most significant advantages of FSBO: you get to choose who lives in your home next.
You have lived there, created memories there, and grown a particular type of affection for your home. It would make you feel more fulfilled and safe leaving it in the hands of the right buyer. If you use an agent, you won’t have that opportunity because your Realtor is the middleman.
However, if you are your agent, you have the opportunity of choosing the person you think is suitable for your home. You can also increase their interest by telling them about your home’s benefits and minor details. On the other hand, a Realtor speaks highly only of the visible and fundamental benefits of the property.
To wrap up, you need to know that either you decide to go it alone and sell your home yourself or use a third party, such as an agent or Realtor. It would be best to weigh both options and how good you are at completing these types of transactions before deciding which route to take when it comes to selling your home.
The key is to avoid failure or losses. But if you choose to sell your home yourself, be sure to do it the right way.