Recognized for its world-class wineries, locally-driven restaurants, vibrant nightlife scene and exquisite wine country views, Napa Valley is a great destination to visit, but even better to live in. With the many features and amenities that the region has to offer, it’s no wonder many are looking to purchase property in the area.
If you own property in Napa Valley, the best time to sell is now. Napa Valley’s real estate market is increasingly competitive and shows no signs of slowing down. Most of the homes in this market, if properly priced and presented, sell above their listing price. In fact, the median selling price of a Napa County home has increased by 16.5% from the previous year.
The strong demand for homes, in part, has decreased Napa County’s housing inventory. According to the Napa Valley Register, the inventory of homes for sale in Napa County has dropped year over year.
With all the signs showing it’s a great time to sell your Napa Valley property, the next step is to prepare for the home selling process. While the usual approach is to work with a real estate agent, some sellers decide to tackle the entire home selling process on their own.
Do you need a realtor to sell a house?
If you’re in a real estate market where the homes for sale are snapped up quickly, you may question the need for a real estate agent. Why use the services of a real estate agent (i.e., pricing, marketing, negotiating) when your Napa Valley house can sell itself? Do you really need a realtor to sell a house? Here’s everything you need to know about selling a house on your own and what it really means to work with a real estate agent.
The process of selling a house without a realtor
Listing a property for sale without the help of a real estate agent is known as FSBO (For Sale by Owner). When sellers choose to go this route, they are in charge of every aspect of the home selling process. This includes:
- Determining the asking price
- Preparing and staging the home
- Marketing and advertising
- Scheduling home viewings
- Negotiating with a potential buyer
- Preparing all the necessary documents
Most importantly, sellers who decide to do it themselves must rely solely on themselves to navigate the emotional roller coaster that every transaction becomes.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), around 8% of home sales in 2020 were FSBO. While the majority of FSBOs did not actively market their home, others used yard signs, open houses, social networking sites, and word of mouth.
Aside from choosing the FSBO option to save on commission fees, others also sell without an agent because they already know who they’re selling to. NAR reports that around 46% of FSBO sellers did not do any marketing, mostly due to having a buyer lined up for their property. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance, knowing the buyer may lessen the need for a real estate agent.
Pros and cons of selling your home without a realtor
It’s easy to understand why many homeowners are tempted to sell their home on their own. After all, there’s no rule that requires sellers to work with a real estate agent. Like any other real estate decision, there are advantages and disadvantages to selling your home without a realtor.
- Lower commission fees
The biggest reason why homeowners choose to sell their home without a realtor is the seller agent’s commission. Since the real estate commission for agents comes from the seller, this fee can take a significant chunk of your profits. In a real estate transaction, the commission fee is around 5% of the property’s final sale price, which is then split between the buyer’s agent and the listing agent, and their respective brokerages.
When a seller decides to go the FSBO route, they only have to pay for the commission of the buyer’s agent. Instead of deducting around 5%, sellers only need to pay 2.5% of the home’s sale price. This saves the seller thousands of dollars, depending on the sale price of their property.
Since you won’t be paying for realtor fees, you will likely have to pay for the services of an appraiser, a real estate attorney, and a title company instead.
- Access to free online resources
When it comes to online resources, the internet has plenty. You can find everything you need to know online, and much of it comes without charge. Online home valuation tools, listing sites, and many other free resources are at your disposal. You’ll also discover countless articles and blogs on how to stage your home properly, creating the ultimate home selling checklist, and preparing your home for showings. That said, these are general and not specific to your local micro-market. For that information and perspective, it’s in your best interests to hire a realtor.
- More focus on the selling process
One of the advantages of selling a home through FSBO is being able to put all your focus on selling a home. If you’re selling your property, you can be at least guaranteed that responsibility for selling lies on the person with most at stake. You can dedicate yourself completely to the task. If you don’t have the time to fully dedicate and educate yourself thoroughly about the process, again, it’s in your best interests to work with a realtor.
- No experience with selling a home
Selling a home can be an overwhelming process, especially if it’s your first time. That’s why sellers turn to realtors so that they have a guide helping them navigate their local real estate market and the process of selling. A realtor has the necessary experience, skills, perspective, and years of study and practice that make them experts in their field.
Selling a home without a real estate agent also means going through the negotiation, and the entire transaction process alone. And we all know how tricky that can be. During the negotiation process, you may encounter counteroffers, multiple offers, buyer’s remorse during the investigation period, and other scenarios. You may even experience resistance from buyer’s agents who are against FSBO’s. When this happens, you need to be prepared and ready for the give and take that comes with negotiating and in doing so, lose out on a better deal.
- No access to the MLS
An MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is a private database that allows real estate agents to find and list homes. When a real estate agent lists a home for sale on an MLS, it maximizes exposure as different agencies and brokerages have easy access to it. Real estate agents and their buyer clients can see all the details of the home and its features and amenities.
Properties for sale can only be listed on the MLS by a licensed real estate agent or brokerage. However, FSBO’s can have their home listed through a flat-fee MLS service. While a flat-fee service solves the problem of having to put your home on the MLS, ite does not solve all other problems or issues that comes with the process of selling a home.
- Lack of network or connections
One of the advantages of working with a real estate agent is their huge network of third-party experts. Whether it’s inspectors, vendors or a home stager, having access to these professionals can make the selling process much easier. Since a real estate agent has already worked with these third-party experts, they can vouch for the quality of their work or services.
When selling a house on your own, you have to rely on your own research and connections, and if we’re being honest, it’s unlikely to be anywhere near as comprehensive or qualified as someone working in the industry. With all the research you could do, you may still be unlucky and end up working with people who provide services that are not up to par, or find no one at all.
- Your home may sell for less
With an FSBO, there’s no guarantee that your property will sell for more. While you may be saving on commission fees, selling a home without a realtor can have you selling it for less. According to NAR, the average price of a home sold through FSBO was $217,900.
A home sold with the help of a real estate agent, on the other hand, typically sold for around $295,000. With all the work you have to do to sell your property, an FSBO may not be worth it if your home ends up selling for less than what you expected. Realtor’s, in most cases, will pay for themselves.
- Selling a house can be time-consuming
There’s plenty that goes into selling a house, from the pricing it right to preparing it for sale. If you plan on selling your Napa Valley home on your own, you need to devote a lot of time to all the different aspects of the home selling process. Without a realtor by your side, you’ll have a long list of to-do’s that you’ll be managing on your own, and you’ll likely be adding to your bottom line.
Why hire a realtor to sell your home
While it may be tempting to “save money” and sell a home without any outside help, selling one without a realtor can do more harm than good. Even if the market may be in your favor, that doesn’t mean the home selling process will be an easy one on your own. Here’s why working with a realtor is a must when it comes to selling a home:
- A realtor sets a realistic asking price
- A realtor prepares and markets the property for you
- A realtor handles the negotiations
- A realtor assists with the closing process
- A realtor protects you from liability
- A realtor walks you through the entire process
An experienced realtor knows the local market like the back of their hand. They know how to find that middle ground between appealing to buyers and getting the most out of your home sale.
There are several factors that go into pricing a home for sale. The location, home size, condition, and upgrades are just some of the crucial elements to formulating a realistic asking price. An experienced realtor takes these factors into consideration, along with recent comparable sales and of course, your real estate objectives.
A realtor makes sure that a home is priced objectively. Since selling a home is an emotional process, setting a price that’s based on what you think your home is worth is understandable. However, this could lead to longer days on the market and a lack of offers. A real estate agent comes up with a competitive price that makes sense for your area and current market conditions.
A realtor knows how to get a home ready for potential buyers and how to impress them. Their experience selling homes allows them to easily identify issues that need to be addressed.
Marketing a property is more than just posting about it online. There are other crucial aspects involved, such as taking quality real estate photos, creating video or virtual tours, and hosting open houses. A realtor does all the heavy lifting for you. They have a long list of marketing strategies that will reach as many potential buyers as possible and increase interest.
Your realtor may also have a go-to team to work with when it comes to staging and photographing your home. This saves you the trouble of having to look for third-party vendors.
Negotiation skills are crucial to every real estate transaction. Since real estate agents play a huge role in creating a mutually beneficial deal between the buyer and the seller, they must be patient, open-minded, and be good communicators. Real estate agents must also have a number of solid negotiation strategies for every situation.
The skills to negotiate successfully don’t come overnight. Realtors have good negotiation skills due to their training, and of course, experience. When you have a realtor by your side, you have someone who is representing you and your best interests.
The final step in any real estate transaction, the closing process involves the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. During closing, all the agreements between the buyer and the seller must be met, whether it’s repairing certain areas in the home or paying for the closing costs.
Once done, your realtor will prepare all the important documents for you to sign such as the deed, transfer documents, and other financing paperwork.
Disclosing information about your property is crucial. Most disclosures should include material defects, conditions that may pose a risk to others, and other problems with the property. Sellers who work on their own may end up overlooking certain elements, which can make them liable to recourse. Even listing the wrong features of the property can negatively impact the sale.
That’s where a realtor comes in. An experienced agent knows how to read crucial real estate documents and they can catch mistakes before it reaches the buyer.
Aside from protecting you from liabilities, a realtor can also protect you from a bad deal. If you’re selling a home and you’ve already signed on the dotted line, there may be potential legal consequences and added costs if you decide to back out because of an error. Prevent this with a realtor and be certain all is above board when you sign.
A realtor will be there to guide you every step of the way, from the pricing to closing. When you work with a realtor, you have an expert who helps you understand the paperwork, the negotiation terms, and all the other nitty gritty details of the home selling process. At the end of the day, your agent’s commission fee is a small price to pay for a successful real estate transaction, and presents value.
Sell your Napa Valley home with Joe Brasil
Fetch top dollar for your property with Napa Valley’s top ranking realtor. Using my years of real estate experience and extensive knowledge of the local market, I make each client’s real estate transaction a smooth and stress-free experience.
As a Global Luxury certified real estate agent, I know how to handle every situation and guide home sellers to reaching their real estate goals. I actively listen to my clients in order to better understand their needs and what they expect to gain from this transaction. If you’re searching for an experienced, dedicated, and detail-oriented realtor in Napa Valley, please reach out to me.