But the age-old would-be buyer objecion that “I can’t afford to buy a home” is now frequently shattered by the reality that when you take all things into account, buying a home at today’s prices and interest rates can actually cost the same or less than renting at today’s relatively high rental costs in many areas.
Few decisions in real estate are so nerve-wracking as that of how much to offer for a home. These days, we search online for comparables, try to suss out their similarities and differences between those homes and our target property, run some more numbers – there might even be a spreadsheet or two involved. We ask our agent to talk with the listing agent, get a feel for the seller’s motivation level and figure out whether there are any other offers, then try to factor the competition level and any credits or bank involvement into our thinking. We touch base (again!) with our mortgage broker to understand how rates have changed since our last conversation and exactly what the monthly payment will be if we offer X or Y or Z.
I know some will argue this point, but the data is unequivocal: homes listed for sale by owner (FSBO) simply sell for less than similar homes listed by agents. From my own observations, I’d also argue that FSBO listings often simply don’t sell at all, and many end up listed by an agent after wasting months and months of the seller’s time. The fact is, listing your home for sale by owner might save you the commission you would otherwise have paid to a listing agent. But the FSBO sellers who are successful generally do offer to pay the buyer’s broker’s commission, so the prospect of saving the full 5 or 6 percent agent commissions is more realistically the prospect of saving 2.5 or 3 percent.
- paying a limited service broker to list the property on MLS,
- paying for professional staging or investing in some level of property preparation, even if they do the labor themselves, and
- paying for an attorney to assist them with the disclosures and contracts involved in the sale –