For Sale By Owner: Should I sell my home myself?

Some 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 recall 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?”.

In recent years, approximately 1% – 2% of Canadian homeowners manage to handle their own sales. In order to join the ranks of those who were able to get the job done, you need to realistically assess exactly what’s involved. The routine parts of the job involve pricing your home 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 (and possibly even prepare) a real estate contract, co-ordinating the details of a closing.

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The greatest downsides are the demands on your time, and the possibility that mistakes may cost you more than 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 in less time and with fewer hassles. Professionals know about market trends, houses in your neighbourhood, 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 home, and are trained in areas like screening potential buyers and negotiating with them. Finally, they’re always “on call” and are prepared to do the things most people don’t want to do, like working on weekends, answering the telephone at all hours, and being courteous to all potential buyers.