When to List Your Home and When to Sell to an Investor – Part 1

(December 6, 2013)

for saleSelling a home is the bane of many homeowners. It is rarely an easy or a fun process, but it doesn’t have to be a troublesome procedure when you sell the right way. You can sell your home through a real estate agent, which many people choose to do. You can also sell to an investor or investment company. Which one of these options is right for your home? Choosing the right way to sell your home is important and, in this article and it’s companion article, we’ll look at the best times to sell with an agent and the best times to sell to an investor. This piece will focus on when you should consider using a real estate agent.

When Should You List with an Agent?

Most of the time, selling with an agent is the first thing that comes to mind for the majority of homeowners. It is the most common option for selling a home and it can work quite well in many different cases. What are the best times to consider listing with an agent?

1. When Your Home is Updated

Has your home been remodeled recently? Whether you’ve updated the kitchen and the bathrooms, added a pool, or made other improvements to the property, working with an agent can be a good idea. They can help ensure you are able to recoup your investment on those upgrades when you sell. Updated homes are easy to photograph and easier to sell. Buyers generally lack imagination if a home is outdated. Most don’t have the time, money, or desire to take on a project like that. If your home is outdated, you can still sell with an agent, but 1 of 2 things usually happens: 1) Your home will sit on the market if not priced aggressively, or 2) An investor will come in and buy it (when you could have just sold to one in the first place and not paid Realtor commissions). Note: selling an outdated home in a really hot market is much easier. I will touch on that below.

2. When You Don’t Need to Sell Right Away

If time is on your side, then you should once again consider listing your property. Working with an agent can take time. Why? Because they have to find the buyer. Experienced agents will have a buyer’s list, which can speed up the process, but most of those buyers still need to go through the loan process. Once you get an agreeable offer (which takes time), the conventional escrow process generally takes at least a month. But if you’re in no rush to sell, and have time to wait for the right priced offer, a good option might be to sell with an agent. Note: Beware of your agent bringing in buyers that they’re also representing. While double-dipping is perfectly legal, you want to make sure your agent is looking out for your best interest. That is hard to do when they’re looking out for the buyer’s best interest too.

3. When The Market is Booming

The real estate market is currently doing quite well – better than it has been in a number of years, actually. Homes, no matter their condition, are going pending fast, and commonly for over asking. A good agent (emphasis on good agent) can play multiple offers against one another and facilitate a bidding war to get you the highest offer. This is a delicate dance and where agents really earn their keep. I remember a time, not too long ago, when homes were sitting on the market for months upon months. Strike while the iron is hot, if your situation meets these 3 requirements.

Either Way, Do Your Homework

Selling with an agent may or may not be the route you should take. No matter what you choose though, you need to do thorough research before choosing an investor or agent to sell with. Also, get the seller net sheets to get an idea of what you can make when selling to an investor and selling with an agent. Often, when you factor in the costs of selling with an agent (don’t forget sellers pay for both realtor commissions), the amount you get is often very similar as selling to an investor, minus the stress.

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Jennifer Shenbaum

Written by Jennifer Shenbaum

Jennifer Shenbaum is a real estate investor based in Southern California. She is a veteran of the housing market crash of 2007. Best of all, she offers free remodeling ideas to all who ask.

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