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Should I use a Realtor?

June 21st, 2008 at 10:46 am

My house is for sale, I put a sign out front and listed it on Craig's List a few weeks ago. I checked with my local paper and it is $19.50 to run an ad on Saturday with a picture of the house; I thought that was cheap. I thought I would try this for a month and see what happens.

We have two houses; one is rented until the end of August. On August 1st I will have two mortgages to pay and we need to sell this house. I don't know how long we can make two mortgage payments and the housing market doesn't seem to be picking up here. Without a housing market; I am losing income and the ability to make two mortgage payments. Our total monthly payments are about $4,600 with the two houses, vehicles, insurance and utilities. On August 1st I can terminate my Verizon wireless plan which will save me $175 a month. In September we will be moving into the second property and that should reduce my cable, telephone and internet bill, currently it is about $200 a month and if I get the comcast package it will be less. The DH and is going to try to get a home equity loan so we can put a new window in the second home (the current one is old and losing heat), new carpet and a wood pellet stove and pellets for the winter. I don't know who can afford the predicted $5.00 a gallon for fuel oil; my mother paid $5.09 a gallon for kerosine last week. I'm really worried about the poor and the elderly this winter; I just don't see how they will be able to make it, I'm praying for a mild winter here.

So I'm really debating with thoughts about selling the house. Should we try to sell on our own or bite the bullet and pay a Realtor 6%? If we use a Realtor, it will probably leave us with about $5,000 in net proceeds; not even enough to pay my tax implications on my debt settlement. I wish I had sold the house a few years ago when the market was still thriving, now everyone is giving low offers just because the economy is stuggling. If I can't get enough money for the house; I may have to rent it.

Once I can sell this house things should start looking up financially; I just hope it sells, it's a nice house in a nice location and is not too expensive; I listed it for $174,900 but the lowest I'd take is $165,000 and my house is within walking distance of the town school and the ski area is a mile away; it was a great home to raise my children in.

7 Responses to “Should I use a Realtor?”

  1. momoffour Says:

    Oh my gosh...I just found all your RECENT blogs. I feel like I have just discovered buried treasure!! It was weird, but prior to this, when I tried opening up your blog, I was getting that page with the fantastic looking "resort" picture. Please ignore my eatrlier email....I can see you have NOT retired.

  2. monkeymama Says:

    I think many would say not to bother, but I would personally never sell without a realtor. PArticularly in a market like this. You really need someone who knows what they are doing, for one.

    The only thing worse than no realtor is a BAD realtor though. So be careful. I was going to add we got stellar deals on our first home and last home - in both cases the sellers had TERRIBLE realtors. I was just going to site that as an example to you (we seriously saved $50k on each purchase because of the terrible realtors. Almost 20% off on our first home). & we always had such an excellent realtor. When trying to sell in a down market our guy had a lot of great ideas and techniques I never would have thought of. Our first realtor was worth her weight in gold. So I am pretty pro-realtor.

    Anyway, I was going to set an example that like you could lose $50k on a deal easily and I realized that was bad realtor as opposed to no realtor. Wink Maybe "no realtor" isn't half as bad.

    Technically if you hire a realtor it is only 3%. You night not get as much interest in your home if you aren't offering a 3% commission to the buyer's realtor. Keep that in mind too.

  3. scfr Says:

    That's a tough call. We used an agent when we sold our house, but we negotiated his commission. He got 2% if there was a buyer's agent involved (who got 3%), but he got 4% if there was no buyer's agent. That gave him some incentive to find a buyer himself.

    He was fantastic. We knew him because he was the original builder's agent (when we bought the house) so he knew our house, the neighborhood, and the comps inside out, upside down, and backwards.

    He worked very hard for us ... We had open houses every other weekend. I think people feel more comfortable coming to an open house when the owner is not there. Some people say open houses don't work, but actually word of mouth from someone who had been to one of our open houses reached our eventual buyers.

    We also worked very hard on making sure the house was in peak saleable condition. The house was staged and spotless at all times.

    There was a lot of hard work involved all around. I felt like I had my hands full with the whole "keeping it perfectly presentable at all times" business and was glad to have an agent working for us.

    On the other hand, my girlfriend who lived in the same neighborhood sold her house at about the same time, and she did it herself.

    What if you gave yourself a time limit to do it on your own (perhaps a couple weeks), and if you aren't getting the interest you need, then think about getting an agent? It sounds like you are well-connected in the real estate business, so no doubt you know who the best agents are.

    Good luck to you!

  4. gamecock43 Says:

    If you choose to sell yourself get the house listed on realtor.com. That websiteis my holy grail. I have been never found a website that is comparable in terms of speed and comprehensive info and amount of listings.

  5. Jane Says:

    In our neighborhood there are a lot of houses for sale, and it seems clear there are more sellers than buyers, so when we put ours on the market two weeks ago we opted for a realtor. In the first week we had six showings - not a lot (and so far have received only one very lowball offer that we couldn't come to a compromise on). The house across the street from us had a FSBO sign in the yard three days after our sign went up, then a few days ago that was replaced with a realtor's sign. I've not seen a single showing over there so far. So I'd say in a down market, get a "hungry" realtor (ours is, he only has a couple of listings) who still knows his/her stuff, and go whatever extra mile you need to. Be willing to do whatever you have to. Keeping the house immaculate and staged is a given, but there's more you can do to set your house apart from the competition. For us, that meant paying $120 for a photographer to do still and panorama shots for our realtor.com listing. We just did this a couple of days ago so I don't know how much of a boost it will give us, but the pics are fantastic and look great on realtor.com. Good luck!

  6. girlndebt Says:

    Only a couple of months ago I am sure you asked yourself the question "should I settle these debts on my own or pay someone to do it for me"? Well we know which way you went and I know you are sure happy with your results. I think you would do well selling on your own. Now that business is slow-you could make selling your home your full time job-your top priority. The reward could be great. Imagine keeping that commission for yourself. That would be your payday. Who knows your house better than you? You are in the business and I am sure you know many Realtors and can get the word out about your house if you decide to do it on your own.

    Of course if you do have a Realtor that has YOUR best interest in mind-the 6% interest wouldn't be feel so bad and it may be a good thing for you to hire one.

    I am so glad things are moving along for you. I look forward to reading about the last creditor being settled and your house being sold. It will be so much weight off your shoulders.

  7. jaiparis Says:

    Hey, don't have any advice on the Realtor, but I am glad to see things are still moving forward for you. Having multiple properties is sometimes tough, I now have first hand experience in that, so wishing the best for you and your family.. you've made so much progress already, and it will be wonderful once you get through all this.

    Jai

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