I work in the Atlanta, Georgia real estate market, and I can tell you that homeowners are hurting. If you want to sell your house in our city or state these days, you're going to have a really hard time because of the glut of foreclosures and people selling really cheap on the market. If you own Atlanta property, you might want to look into a Flat Fee MLS service to help you enable to sell your home at a very competitive rate.
How Do I Sell My Home Cheaper?
Whether we are talking Alpharetta homes for sale or Marietta homes for sale, no matter what county or neighborhood, it's difficult to stand out from the ocean of single family residences out there. The number one factor in how fast your property sells is the price. Someone is looking for a home in your neighborhood's price range, but unless that price is very attractive, that person is going to have a lot of choices that seem just as good as the next one.
So how do you sell your home for cheaper? Cut out unnecessary costs!
Real Estate Agents Fees Can Eat Up 3% to 6% of Your Home's Sale Price
The typical contract gives the listing agent 3% of the final sale price of your property, and 3% to the buyer's agent. There's a way to cut out each of these, but one is easier than the other.
The easiest approach is to cut out the listing fee. And the best way to do this is to list your property on the MLS yourself. The MLS is an online database of homes for sale that only real estate agents have access to...UNLESS you use a flat fee service that will list your home for you. This means that you don't pay the 3% listing agent fee when your house sells!
Now, is there any worth in having an agent do the listing for you? Maybe...but is it worth $6,000 on a $200,000 sale price? One of the main things he or she will do is put your residence on the MLS. If you can do that for $49 to $399, and put up your own sign, don't you think that maybe that's worth $5,600 on a $200,000 sale price?
Or think of it another way: if you could list your $200,000 home for $194,000 because you didn't have to pay a listing agent's fee, don't you think you could sell your house faster? Of course you could!
For instance, in the suburbs of metro Atlanta, a price range of $350,000 - $400,000 is somewhat typical. In Gwinnett county (which, incidentally, won the 2010 Broad Prize for best school district last week, which is an astronomical plus for selling a home in any residential area), a house that is on the market for $350,000 could immediately knock off $10,500 from the sale price. When a house in a good school district lists for $339,500, while comparable houses are going for $350-400,000, wouldn't you say that house is going to get a significantly larger percentage of traffic and views than comparable homes?
Another great example is Buckhead, an upscale neighborhood inside the perimeter of Atlanta and closer to downtown. Prices here range from $350,000 at the low end to $800,000 at the upper end (before you start getting into ultra luxury homes). If you have a home that is priced at $500,000, you are going to see more foot traffic and interest if you can advertise that it's a $500,000 home priced at $485,000. The psychological impact of bringing down your home from the $500,000 range into the $400,000 range should not be discounted, plus a $15,000 savings? Fantastic, IF your Buckhead home was priced competitively to begin with at $500k. And what kind of buyer response do you think you would get if you advertised that you could offer another $15,000 discount to people who buy without an agent? A $500,000 home for $470,000? Outstanding!
Let's say that you decided to aggressively pursue buyers without agents, through your own advertisements, local real estate clubs, etc. Now you could offer the same house for $329,000 - $21,000 less than your nearest contenders. That's a phenomenal deal for any home buyer. You benefit in two ways: your house will have much more to offer than the competitors in the same price range, which draws in people looking in the under-$330,000 price range. And if you specifically advertise that you are giving greater savings so that people know you are offering a $350,000 valued house at a 3 to 6% discount, you can draw in a large number of people looking in the $350,000 price range.
Now, getting rid of the buyer's agent commission is tougher, because buyer's agents actually look at the MLS and bring prospective clients to your home. That 3% fee is what makes it worth their while to drive clients to your house and show them the property. If you are really motivated, you could work overtime (open houses, signs in high traffic areas, approaching real estate clubs, online and print ads, etc.) to find your own buyers instead of going through a buyer's agent...but I don't necessarily recommend this approach. You cut out too many good leads. If you do decide to go this route, you must totally commit and be very motivated to make up for the leads that buyer's agents would otherwise send your want.
If, however, you find a buyer without a buyer's agent, jackpot! You've just eliminated that extra 3% fee. If you sign with a listing agent, though, in their contract will be an item guaranteeing them the entire 6% - even if they didn't do any work at all! So, remind me...why would you sign with a listing agent, when you can get the vast majority of what they do for a reduced price of $49 to $399?