We understand the reasons for trying to sell your home on your own. It's easy to think that in a fast-moving market like Bozeman all you need to do is put a sign in the yard, list your home online, and maybe host an open house or two. Homeowners are often worried about the costs of hiring a professional and worry that no one can represent their home the way they can. But, there are many factors to keep in mind when selling your home on your own, especially in Bozeman.
In Montana, the sold prices of homes are not disclosed, making it difficult to accurately price your home. With limited resources, it can be difficult to reach potential buyers without an up-to-date marketing plan. There are piles of paperwork, scams to look out for, and liability concerns. Most importantly, it takes time to sell a home. Rather than spending your nights and weekends scheduling showings, filling out paperwork or negotiating with buyers, your time should be spent doing what you love, and what you do best. Hiring a real estate professional means that you will spend less time, fewer resources, have less liability and make more money on the sale of your home.
Montana is a non-disclosure state, which means that no one has access to the sold prices of a home other than members of the MLS. How can you set an appropriate price for your home when you have nothing to compare it with? Even in a competitive market like Bozeman, pricing is everything. Many for-sale-by-owners list high with the idea that they can drop the price later. But, the longer your home spends on the market, the less attention it gets and the more negotiating power buyers have. Pricing based on actual sold prices in the area is key. If you list your home too high, buyers and agents will overlook your home and head to the more affordable option down the street. If you price to low, well, you are giving up money that could have been headed straight for your pocket.
SPENDING MORE TIME ON THE MARKET
These days, reaching potential homebuyers takes a lot more than putting a sign in the yard. With 90% of homebuyers searching online during their house hunt, a Craigslist ad isn’t going to cut it. If display network advertising, pay-per-click campaigns, landing pages or content marketing make your head spin, then you may want to consider working with a company that can offer a strong marketing campaign to get your home in front of potential buyers.
Moving through a real estate transaction without a professional can be risky. Unfortunately, scams targeting for-sale-by-owners are widespread, and often well thought-out. Selling a home on your own means you may come across fraudulent legal documents, buyer deposit scams or set-ups with the intention of stealing your personal information. If you market your home on your own, you will be especially at risk for scams meant to take advantage of people in your position.
ALL THAT PAPERWORK
According to the National Association of Realtors, understanding paperwork is one of the most difficult tasks for owners selling their home on their own. Required paperwork in a real estate transaction varies state by state which makes it difficult to track the property disclosures, sales contracts, counteroffers, lead paint disclosures and other forms required for a transaction. Sure, you may find many companies offering ready-made contracts, but can you be sure that you’ve covered all the requirements for your state? And do you fully understand what all the contracts mean and what to transmit to lenders and title companies? An agent can help you through the paperwork process smoothly.
THE LIABILITY IS ON YOU
Everyone makes mistakes. But selling your home on your own means you are responsible for those mistakes, miscommunications or misunderstandings that occur in the course of your transaction. If you mistakenly misrepresent a feature of your home and the buyer later discovers it, chances are you will be liable for any and all costs involved. While you may think working with an attorney is the solution, the truth is that while an attorney can close a real estate transaction, they typically don’t handle transaction navigation and are often more concerned with covering themselves than your best interest.
HOW WILL BUYERS FIND YOUR HOME?
More than 1,300 real estate agents in the area rely on the Multiple Listing Service to find properties for their clients. Not having your home on the MLS system is essentially ignoring the 1,000 + agents who represent buyers for your home.
We are not here to convince you to work with an agent, but we do want you to be aware of the challenges of selling on your own in the Bozeman real estate market. Click here for more of our resources for selling your home in Bozeman or to find out how we market homes for sale.