My Friend Just Tried to Sell a Home Without a Real Estate Agent -- and She'll Never Do That Again

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  • Right now, it's a seller's market, and you may be tempted to try selling your home without a real estate agent.
  • A seller I know recently tried that -- and it didn't go well.

Selling a home solo can be much harder than expected.

Home prices in my area are way higher than they've been in years. And while inventory in my area is low, those homes that have gone up for sale recently have been scooped up in a flash.

It's this set of circumstances that prompted my friend to try to sell her home without a real estate agent earlier this year. But it's a decision that didn't end up working out well in the slightest.

When the hassle factor isn't worth the savings

My friend's logic for selling a home solo was simple. As a stay-at-home parent, she had the time to deal with the process of bringing in buyers and conducting her own open house. And since homes in our area have been in such high demand, she figured there was no sense in paying a 5% commission (the going rate around here) to a real estate agent. Instead, she decided she'd enjoy the savings and have more money to put into her next home, thereby lowering her mortgage.

All told, my friend's decision to forgo the real estate agent was a reasonable one given the state of the market. But in the end, it didn't work out.

See, my friend managed to find a buyer quickly, as expected. And she also got an offer on the home she was happy with. But then it came time for the home inspection, and that's where things started to unravel.

My friend's theory is that her buyer started to get cold feet, because the inspection did not reveal any shocking issues with the house. Yet the buyer immediately tried to back out of the contract even though the issues that were uncovered were minor and my friend was willing to fix all of them before closing on the sale.

My friend then tried to contact other buyers who had made offers on the house, but by then, her strongest offers had moved on. At that point, she felt frustrated and ill-equipped to deal with things on her own. And so she went out and -- drumroll, please -- found herself a real estate agent, who has since taken over the process.

Be careful when going it alone

While my friend clearly had good reasons for trying to sell her home on her own, in the end, that decision backfired. She's convinced that if she'd had a real estate agent in her corner, her original buyer would not have backed out of the sale following that home inspection. Or, perhaps her agent would've noticed other red flags and talked her into going with a different buyer in the first place.

At this point, my friend will lose a portion of her sale proceeds to an agent's fee. But she feels that it's a fee worth paying. And if you're looking to sell your home, you may want to go a similar route.

What you lose in the form of spent money, you might gain in the form of peace of mind. And that's something that's hard to put a price tag on.

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