You sell your house. You are retired, resourceful and ready to save money. Should you list it yourself?


Years ago I sold my house without a real estate agent. It went well. I saved about $ 25,000. And my only expense was a $ 16 “For Sale By Owner” sign.

I’m not bragging. Although I think I got the best price, a real estate professional might argue that I left money on the table. And if an agent had used a multiple ads service to get the word out, maybe I could have come up with more and better deals.

Yes, selling a house on your own takes time, energy and courage. My buyers were nice and reasonable people (a married couple in their forties), but moments of stress arose when we finalized the price and haggled the contingencies of the contract.

If I was retired, it would have been easier for me to research recent home sales (to set my price) and navigate the process (to avoid hiccups). So that begs the question: Should resourceful retirees consider selling by owner (FSBO) or hire a real estate agent?

If you plan to sell soon, your timing is great if you go the DIY route.

“In a normal market, there could be 100 houses for sale [in your area]”said Ilyce Glink, Managing Director of BestMoneyMoves, a financial wellness platform.” Now that’s 30 homes for sale. So there is a lot of demand and very little supply. That makes this a great one. market for an FSBO.

Other variables come into play. Do you live in a desirable neighborhood where there is a great interest in buying a residential property? Does your house have an exterior appeal? How fast do you want to sell?

Then there is the daunting task of negotiating with buyers. I treated it as a character-building exercise – a test to stay calm and cordial even while making concessions worth around $ 1,000.

“You have to have the right temperament to sell on your own,” Glink said. “Agents are well aware of the psychological game that buyers and sellers play with each other,” but you may find it unfamiliar and intrusive.

Retirees with decades of history living in their homes face a particular challenge. They may find it difficult to maintain their objectivity when strangers criticize their taste and reveal ambitious demolition plans.

“People are so emotional about their house,” Glink said. “Maybe you raised your children there or took care of elderly parents. It can be difficult to come off.

Additionally, you may need to spend money updating bathroom tiles or fixing cracked windows. It’s tempting to laugh at such investments, but buyers will notice issues that you either ignore or ignore.

Glink suggests hiring a professional home inspector to perform a pre-registration inspection. Armed with a to-do list, you’re better prepared to identify fixes that may or may not be needed to sell your property.

Real estate agents pride themselves on helping sellers find the right asking price. It’s more art than science, and it’s hard to compare the results: I’ll never know the sale price an agent would have gotten for me, even though I doubt it would have gone over the money I saved on the commission.

“Can you sell your house yourself?” Of course, ”said Jonathan de Araujo, real estate agent at Vantage Point Team in Lexington, Mass. “But are you maximizing the price?”

He found that many DIY sellers set their prices too high. But he says it’s a mistake and underpricing makes more sense because you can orchestrate a bidding war and end up with a better deal (especially if you’re selling in a hot market).

Another factor is your motivation to sell. If you’re in no rush, you have the luxury of pursuing an FSBO or signing up with a discount broker like Redfin to lower your commission.

“If you don’t really care, you could set a price to die for and if you get it, great, and if not, great,” Glink said. “But if you need to move for a new job or for some other reason the schedule is important,” an agent can help you get results fast.

Some money-conscious sellers think their safest bet is to hire a real estate agent, but negotiate a lower commission. While this may seem like a happy medium, it can come at a hidden cost.

“The commissions are negotiable, but do your research first,” said Caroline Feeney, senior editor at HomeLight, a real estate technology company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. She cautions that even if sellers persuade their agent to reduce the commission, it can also reduce the agent’s marketing and promotion of the property.

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