When the Real Estate Bubble Burst sent the economy into a tumble in 2008, selling a home became an everyday task with brand-new responsibilities. Homes weren’t moving the way that they do when the economic health of the country is better. Buyers weren’t always looking for rock-bottom prices. And whatever the state of the economy, there are several ways to sell your home, and plenty to consider when it comes to how you choose to introduce your home to potential buyers.
What’s also different is the rise of the freelance and independent contractor economy. This means fewer people bound to a 9-to-5 schedule, fewer people with the purchasing capital of yesteryear, and far less people willing and able to purchase homes. What’s more is that more young people than ever are moving abroad – this, of course, means that they may never purchase homes. Millennials and Gen We value travel, and international education across the board. This is bolstered by a slow glamorization of travel, and an entire generation that values experiences over possessions. A house, in this case, certainly qualifies as a possession, and this decreases its value for some, especially younger people.
Few within the younger generations, for a variety of social and economic reasons, are purchasing homes at the rates of previous generations. This doesn’t mean that the rest won’t purchasing homes at all. Homeownership is still an important cornerstone of economic stability, and those who are able to afford to pay for a home will usually do so, even with the advent of travel on social media. With a new generation, though, there will be a new approach to handling and selling real estate. After the Recession of 2008, many young people are wary of the actual long-term value of owning a home in a quickly-changing digital and economic landscape.
With a new generation of potential homebuyers eschewing on purchasing homes, it’s understandable that they would be the least likely to reach out for the help of an agent, whether they’re buying or selling. For them, there is the option to try and buy or sell a home on their own. Many have had success, though, statistically, anyone who is buying or selling a home is likely to give up working alone for the sake of a person that can be readily available for showings and to answer any question that may come. Fortunately, the future of the real estate industry remains strong: younger people will not typically ask a friend or relative to sell their home, unless this friend or relative is a real estate agent.
Real Estate Agent, or Realtor?
Officially, realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors, a national organization that holds members to a code of ethics in real estate. Realtors pay dues, answer to a board, and can face disciplinary action if they’re accused of something inappropriate. This, of course, isn’t to say that anyone outside of the organization is guaranteed to be a bad agent any more than anyone inside is guaranteed to be good. The National Association of Realtors serves as both a leader in the industry, and as a standard of professionalism, and members are specially trained to help both home buyers and home sellers have a good and safe experience while their home is on the market for sale.
Though officially, the two terms are separate, and each indicate a different type of specific certification, within the industry, it isn’t unusual for the terms to be used interchangeably. A realtor may simply refer to themselves as an agent, and vice versa. Ultimately, choosing between a realtor and a real estate agent doesn’t matter nearly as much as your comfort with the agent. If you meet a salesperson in real estate that comes highly recommended, shows consistent professionalism, and gives you all of the information that they can find, you’ve met a gem, official realtor or not. If, though, you’re a person who is interested in entering the industry, and looking to make a comfortable living, there is evidence to suggest that realtors, in fact, make more money than their counterparts: median home sales for FSBO lingered around $190,000, where agent-assisted sales netted close to a quarter-millions dollars, on average. The National Association of Realtors provides relators a baseline of objectivity and focus on customer service, and what’s best for the client, making it an easy decision for some to choose a realtor.
Between making more money and representing an organization that holds them accountable for their service to clients, realtors always seem to be the best choice for anyone seeking to own or sell a property.
Who hires real estate agents?
Since we already know who may or may not be ready to buy a home through an agent or on their own, it’s worth mentioning the state of the real estate market’s consumer base, especially when it comes to who is actually paying the fee to utilize real estate agents. Much of what determines whether or not a person hires an agent depends on their demographic: younger people, particularly those living in major cities, are less likely to hire a real estate agent, or a realtor. Across the board, non-white people generally try to sell their homes on their own. The history of disproportionate poverty among people of color has led to a widespread culture of thriftiness and distrust in anyone that could be viewed as a ‘middle man.’ While this is slowly changing, young people across the board will generally try to sell their homes without the benefit of an agent that, despite making them a little more money, still requires their fee for their services.
As more time passes, though, the number of young people who utilize the service of real estate agents has gone up. The number is still lower than previous generations, but when anyone realizes the difficulty of selling a home alone, an agent is often called in to assist. Even when a party feels confident that they can sell their property, an agent is still the way to go. You will inevitably find yourself working feverishly around your own schedule to try to meet someone to show them their potential new home.
So, Why Bother with FSBO?
Despite hiring an agent being a much better fit for most people, there are positives to selling your home yourself. First of all, you’ve lived in the neighborhood. This means that, as an independent seller, can share experiences and colorful anecdotes about neighbors and local businesses. Silly though it may sound to some, adding emotional appeal to a home can help to move it off of the market, and into the hands of a proud new buyer.
Some are drawn to the ability to control the selling situation when they’re selling their own home. They have the chance to choose their own price, choose which repairs to make, and to market their home for sale the way that they want to. What many fail to understand is that nothing about selling a home is as easy as it may seem: while working on the emotional appeal of the property is certainly a good selling point, it can be difficult for some to continue to remain as objective as possible. Investing in the curb appeal of the property, and being honest and forthcoming about the age of appliances are things that must be done in order to sell your home.
When you sell your own home, you’re also able to choose your own staging and lighting company. To boost a home’s looks for the purpose of selling, many realtors will reach out to staging companies, who rearrange what you have in your home, sometimes providing more, and make your home ‘sellable.’ Just as you wouldn’t want to shop for clothes on a messy, disorganized rack, you don’t want to frustrate your buyers by showing a beautiful property that is cluttered and disorganized.
FSBO vs Real Estate Agent
In the end, different strategies for sale will work for different parties. It is possible that one party does best when they decide to sell to a friend, but still others are able to resolve their issues most quickly when someone else is handling said issues. There is no one-size-fits-all anywhere in real estate, except for cases like the National Association of Realtors, which provides guidelines to protect home buyers, and holds realtors accountable. Either way, choosing a realtor or real estate agent is the best way to minimize the most tedious parts of buying and selling property. If you’re still not convinced, wait until the paperwork arrives. Most of what can drive people who sold their own homes to turn to a realtor later is the paperwork that concludes a property sale.
Without a background in property law, it can be difficult to close a sale on a new property. If for no other reason, choosing real estate assistance, be it from a realtor, or an agent, is always a safe bet for all involved. To whom paperwork needs to go, and whose signatures are needed are all part of the process of purchasing property, but sometimes people forget that legal processes and financial dealings can easily be botched due to a simple lack of understanding.
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