Can I sell my house myself?

Many people believe they can save a considerable amount of money by selling on their own. They look at the average commission on a house, and remember stories of friends or relatives who managed to get through the process with seemingly little trouble. It can be done, they say-so why can't I?

Right now, over 10% of American homeowners handle their own sales. But in order to join the ranks of the successful ones, you need to realistically assess exactly what's involved. The routine parts of the job involve pricing your house accurately, determining whether or not a buyer is qualified, creating and paying for your own advertising, familiarizing yourself with enough basic real estate regulations to understand (possibly even prepare) a real estate contract, and coordinating the details of a closing. The greatest downsides are the demands on your time, and the possibility that a mistake may cost you the money you're trying to save.

The best reason for working with real estate brokers is the enormous amount of information they have at their disposal-information that can help make your house sell faster and easier. Professionals know about market trends, houses in your neighborhood, and the people most likely to buy there. They also know how to reach the largest number of people who may be interested in your house, and are trained in areas like screening potential buyers and negotiating with them. Finally, they're always "on call", and willing to do the things most people hate: working on weekends, answering the phone at all hours, and always being polite about it.

What about the paper work?

Because the legal contracts and other paperwork involved in buying and selling a home are complex, and can be confusing to the general public, many people prefer to work with a broker.

Your broker will review contracts, make you aware of special considerations and potential problems. Your broker will also prepare closing statements, set up closing and accompany you to the closing, to make everything go as smoothly as possible.

Before choosing to sell on your own, consider your time, the exposure needed and the paperwork involved.

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