Selling Real Estate Without a Broker - Considerations and Pitfalls

With the real estate market in Eastern Massachusetts favoring sellers of real estate, we have noticed a trend and tendency of some sellers to list their property for sale by owner and avoid the use of real estate brokers all together.  The simplest explanation for this decision is cost.  Many sellers realize that they can avoid a 2.00 - 2.5% commission to a listing broker if they consummate a sale without assistance.  But what is the true "cost" and what are the disadvantages of not using a listing broker for a real estate sale? 

Statutory, Regulatory and Common Law Compliance - Real estate brokers know exactly the types of Massachusetts statutes and regulations that must be satisfied during each transaction. Real estate brokers are also trained on the various types of common law issues, such as misrepresentation or breach of contract, that can arise during a transaction. And they have been trained on how to avoid those types of common law liability. If you are not using a real estate professional, and unless you are an attorney or real estate professional yourself, you will not be able to satisfy and comply with the numerous laws and regulations associated with real estate transactions in Massachusetts. And in that instance, you are exposing yourself to liability.  

Market Valuation - What is your property worth and what purchase price can you reasonably expect to receive?  Finding the right listing price is crucial. Brokers have the skills and resources to help advise you on the realistic value of your property, and a listing price that will attract several ready, able and willing buyers.  It is common for homeowners to over estimate the value of their homes based on their own personal attachment and knowledge of the property. A broker can provide you with a neutral and experienced third party opinion on the value of your real estate.  If you list your property too low, then you are not maximizing the sale price. If you list your property too high, then you will scare off buyers, particularly the ones who are taking out a mortgage and are responsible for a 20% down payment.  In this instance, the value of a broker should not be underestimated. 

All the "little things" - Who is going to collect signatures and deposits for the purchase and sale agreement? Who will make the mandatory disclosures and obtain the required certificates for closing? Who will coordinate inspections, viewings, and walkthroughs?  Who will serve as tour buffer and advocate if your transaction enters troubled waters? Who will greet potential buyers and handle inquires at open houses? Do you have an expansive and established network in the area that you are selling your home that you can market to? This list is limited, and can very extensive, and all the "little things" that a real estate broker will do for you to ensure that you close on-time are invaluable. 

The above list is not an exhaustive description of all the benefits of real estate brokers in transactions. From a legal observational standpoint, we have noticed a trend that real estate brokers provide tremendous value in each transaction and help smooth the process until closing. If you are preparing to sell your home, and would like to consult with a real estate lawyer, please contact us at 781-463-6063.