Can I Buy or Sell a Home Without a Real Estate Agent?

**Buying or Selling Your Home Without an Agent: Pros and Cons**

The current real estate market is nothing short of a whirlwind. With record-low housing inventory in many areas, we’re witnessing multiple offers and even bidding wars for homes in highly sought-after neighborhoods. This has led some sellers to question hiring a real estate agent. After all, why shell out money for a listing agent when it appears that you can stick a “For Sale” sign in your yard and watch a line of eager buyers form around the block?

Similarly, some homebuyers may contemplate going it alone without a buyer’s agent, thinking it’s a way to stand out from the competition and secure a discount. Since the seller typically covers the buyer agent’s commission, the allure of a DIY purchase might seem tempting.

While saving money is always appealing, there may be better courses of action than forgoing professional representation regarding your most substantial financial asset. It’s crucial to weigh the benefits against the risks and the considerable time and effort involved in selling or buying a home on your own. So, let’s explore the ins and outs of both scenarios to help you make an informed decision.

**Selling Your Home Without an Agent: For Sale By Owner (FSBO)**

For many homeowners looking to sell their property without professional assistance, the option that comes to mind is a traditional “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) approach. This means you set your home’s price, manage the entire transaction, show your home, and directly negotiate with potential buyers or their real estate agents. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, approximately 8% of homes are sold now by their owners.

In a red-hot, low-inventory real estate market, selling your home by yourself is a no-brainer. There are plenty of eager buyers out there, right? Plus, you’ll save money by not paying a listing agent’s commission and have complete control over pricing and marketing your home.

However, one of the biggest hurdles FSBOs encounter is accurately pricing their homes. Access to comprehensive data on comparable properties in your area is necessary to avoid overpricing your home (leading to prolonged market time) or underpricing it (leaving potential profit on the table). Even during the strong seller’s market of the past year, FSBO homes had a median sales price 10% lower than agent-represented homes. In a more balanced market, such as 2018, FSBO properties sold for 24% less than agent-represented ones. This suggests that while you might believe you can price and market your home more effectively, the reality may differ, potentially costing you more than an agent’s commission.

Without a real estate professional’s assistance, you’ll be responsible for attracting potential buyers. This entails gathering information for online listings, arranging professional photography, composing engaging listing descriptions, and designing marketing materials like flyers and mailers. Alternatively, you may hire a writer and graphic designer for these tasks.

Moreover, you’ll need to facilitate virtual showings and establish COVID-19 safety protocols. When a buyer expresses interest, you’ll need to schedule in-person showings, possibly multiple times for potential buyers. Furthermore, you’ll be on your own when assessing offers, understanding legal contracts and contingencies, and negotiating terms, including those related to the home inspection and closing process.

Remember that even if you take the FSBO route, you may still need to cover the buyer agent’s commission, so it’s crucial to evaluate potential savings against the significant effort and risk involved.

Opting for a listing agent can save you considerable time and effort while minimizing personal risk and liability. The increased profits realized through more effective marketing and negotiation strategies may exceed the cost of the agent’s commission.

**iBuyer Option**

iBuyers have emerged as an alternative option for sellers since around 2015, offering the possibility of a direct sale to a real estate investment company, bypassing the traditional direct-to-consumer sales process. iBuyer companies emphasize convenience and speed, boasting a reliable, streamlined process that may appeal to some sellers.

The concept is simple: rather than listing your home on the open market, you complete an online form with information about your property’s location and features. Then, you wait for an offer from the iBuyer company. These companies seek homes in good condition, located in desirable neighborhoods, and conducive to quick resale within their algorithmic parameters.

For sellers prioritizing speed and convenience, iBuyers may offer an attractive alternative to a traditional real estate sale. They assess a property rapidly and offer upfront without requesting repairs or other accommodations.

However, this convenience comes at a cost, often resulting in a substantially lower sale price than what the market could offer, along with fees that rival or exceed a traditional real estate agent’s commission. MarketWatch reported that, on average, iBuyers netted sellers 11% less than conventional sales when factoring in both the lower sale price and associated fees. Some studies even found iBuyers charging fees of up to 15%, significantly more than the commission paid to a real estate agent.

In a competitive market, this might mean leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table, as you won’t have the opportunity to negotiate and may miss out on rising home prices due to low inventory and high demand. Additionally, iBuyers have proven less reliable during economic uncertainty, as evidenced by the suspension of operations for most iBuyer platforms in early 2020. As a seller, the last thing you want is to start an iBuyer transaction only to have it halted due to corporate decisions.

Suppose you opt to work with a real estate agent. In that case, you can still explore iBuyer options, enjoying the convenience of a fast sale while benefiting from the protection and guidance of a professional negotiator.

**Buying Your Home Without an Agent**

According to recent statistics, 88% of home buyers enlist the help of a real estate agent during their home search. A buyer’s agent guides you through every step of the home-buying process, from finding the perfect property to crafting a winning offer and navigating inspections and closing procedures. Best of all, since buyer agents are compensated through a commission paid by the seller at closing, most provide their services at no direct cost to you.

However, consider negotiating your home purchase directly with the seller or listing agent, particularly if you have experience in deal-making as part of your profession. If you’re familiar with the neighborhood you’re targeting, you might believe there’s no need for a buyer’s agent.

Nevertheless, creating a winning offer package can be challenging, especially in a competitive multiple-offer situation. Trusting an agent can help avoid overpaying for a property or overlooking potential issues during the inspection. Buyer agents offer a streamlined, professional process that listing agents may be more inclined to recommend to their clients.

Choosing to go alone means writing, submitting, and negotiating a competitive offer independently. You’ll also have to arrange for inspections and handle repair negotiations, review and prepare all necessary documents, and maintain constant communication with the seller’s agent, your lender, inspector, appraiser, title company, and other relevant parties throughout the process.

Alternatively, you can work with a buyer’s agent whose commission is paid by the seller, costing you nothing out of pocket. In return, you’ll receive fiduciary-level guidance.

For one of the most significant financial transactions in your life. Opting to forgo professional representation in such a crucial decision could be risky.

**Is a Real Estate Agent Right for You?**

Choosing whether or not to work with a real estate professional is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of your options and preferences. If you have experience in real estate transactions and legal contracts, feel comfortable negotiating in high-stakes situations, and have ample time to spare, you might find success with an iBuyer or FSBO sale.

However, like most individuals, if you value expert guidance and want an experienced professional to oversee the process, you’ll likely find greater peace of mind and security in working with a real estate agent or broker.

Real estate agents offer comprehensive services and expert negotiation skills that benefit buyers and sellers financially. On average, sellers who use an agent end up with more money than those who opt for FSBO or iBuyer routes. According to the National Association of Realtors, most buyers (91%) and sellers (89%) express satisfaction with their real estate professional’s representation and are eager to recommend their services to others. Most buyers and sellers find a real estate agent’s assistance indispensable in terms of time, money, and expertise.

**Questions About Buying or Selling? We Have Answers**

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether you need a real estate agent or broker is to consult with one. We’re here to provide the insights you need to make well-informed decisions and discuss our value-added services in today’s competitive real estate landscape. Feel free to reach out, and let’s talk about your specific needs and how we can assist you in achieving your real estate goals.

Pat Ogle: The Go-To Annapolis Realtor for Your 5-Star Home Buying or Selling Experience

Meet Pat Ogle, your go-to real estate expert in Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay—the Land of Pleasant Living! As an Associate Broker at Long and Foster Real Estate, Pat combines a lifetime of local knowledge with unmatched professionalism. His past as a retired Police Officer and former Undersheriff of Anne Arundel County makes him not just a realtor but a trusted community figure.

Why choose Pat? He’s in the Top 5% of realtors, holding prestigious titles like Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Internet Marketing Specialist (e-Pro). Awards? Pat’s got plenty, including Champion Realty’s Lifetime Achievement Award and spots in multiple Hall of Fames.

Whether you’re eyeing waterfront property or a cozy home in Annapolis, Pat leverages his unique skills to make your real estate journey a walk in the park. Specializing in properties across Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore, Pat ensures you’re informed every step of the way—making the process stress-free and even enjoyable!

But it’s not all about the business for Pat. Clients often turn into lifelong friends, thanks to his 5-star customer service. So if you’re looking for a top-notch real estate experience that goes beyond just buying or selling, let Pat Ogle show you the way. Get in touch today to make your dream home a reality!
Looking for some quick tips on how to buy or sell a home? Click here for free copy of our ➡️ Home Buyers Guide, or our ➡️ Home Sellers Guide. They both have expert advice on how to navigate today’s home buying or selling process, whether this is your first time or your 10th time.

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Pat Ogle – Associate Broker, CRS, GRI, ePRO, MCJ 
Long and Foster Real Estate
711 Bestgate Road Annapolis, MD 21401
Cell: 443-569-2736 (text) Office: 410-224-0600
Email: [email protected]
Licensed Maryland REALTOR Since 1987

Real Estate in Annapolis and the ChesapeakeBay | Escape To The Good Life In The Land of Pleasant Living!

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