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Self Sale: Good Deal or Ordeal?

So you're thinking of selling your own home. After all, its done all the time right? And a lot of people who've tried wish they hadn't. Here are some of the reasons why.

Its not as simple as it seems.

If you've had training and experience in salesmanship, psychology, diplomacy, law, finance, property values, are a skilled negotiator and aren't intimidated by lots of paperwork, maybe you can pull it off. You might even save yourself a buck. But the odds are against you. Because there are just too many pitfalls for the do-it-youselfer to avoid. That's why most property transfers in this country are handled by a realtor.

What's your home worth?

Do you really know? Without professional appraisal you're almost certain to price it too high or too low. And one way is as bad as the other.

Realtors are involved with property valuation every day. They're attuned to all visible and hidden factors that affect your home's worth, and can guide you in setting a fair and reasonable price. So it will sell promptly, rather then stay on the market for months or longer.

Come one, come all

Now that you've set your price, right or wrong, it's time to let the world know about it. Start with a "For Sale by Owner" sign. That tells everybody who drives by your house that it is open for inspection day or night, seven days a week. Never mind that most are "just looking" without any real thought of buying. If you like company you're in for a great time, assuming that all the people who come in are your kind of folks. But there are some bad actors out there. Are you sure you want just anybody in your home?

Then, too, the buyer you're looking for may never drive by and unless you are a skilled copywriter your ads may not interest many good prospects. Even so, you'll probably get enough phone calls at all hours to thoroughly disrupt your routine. And don't plan any weekend trips. You can't sell your home if you're not there, can you?

If a realtor were selling your home for you, you'd miss all this trouble. Because you'd only see qualified buyers who are looking for a home like yours, and you'd see them at your convenience.

Talking Turkey

When you finally find a serious broker, you'll find out how good a negotiator you are because there is likely to be several thousand dollars between your asking price and his offer. Should you stick to your guns? If you do you may lose the sale. If you don't you may cheat yourself. This is likely to be a time of compromise - of give and take. But knowing how much to give, or whether to give at all, demands knowledge and negotiating skill. The fact is that you, the owner, are in an awkward position to best advance your own interests.

At this point your realtor's advice is invaluable. As a third party, his or her objective viewpoint will be reassuring to the buyer. And you'll have an experienced professional in your corner to bargain for you. No one can handle this difficult part of the transaction more effectively then a realtor.

Closing the deal

How good a salesman are you? Getting an indecisive buyer to make a decision will be the test. Saying just the right thing, and knowing when not to say anything, can make a big difference. Successful salesmanship is an art and a science, And since buying a home is the biggest investment most of us ever make, highly sophisticated sales techniques are demanded. This is where your realtor's specialized training and experience with people really pay off.

And now for the paperwork

The many frustrations of selling your own home reach their climax at this point. First, your buyer will need a loan. Can you help him through the maze of mortgage financing, points, and interest rates? Your contract won't be worth much if he can't get the money to pay you. And then there are other complications. Your buyer will want satisfactory title evidence. Probably a termite inspection. There are taxes to consider. And dozens of other details to keep you busy before closing. Once again, a realtor will help shoulder this burden for you. Everything will be done properly and with a minimum of bother on your part.

Still want to go it alone?

After all, you'll save the realtor's commission, won't you? Not necessarily. Because most people who respond to "For Sale by Owner" offers expect to buy at a lower price. If you sell your home for less then its market value, you could lose far more then the commission you're trying to save.

Its your decision, but think carefully about all that's involved in time, skill and money. Then consider the advantages of having a realtor do the job for you from start to finish, painlessly, and safely. It's your decision, and it's your money.

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