If you’ve been considering selling your house, you may be wondering if it makes more sense to try to list it with a Seattle real estate agent, or if you should try working with an investor. If you have a property in distress, poor as-is condition, are behind on payments or facing foreclosure, or are selling an estate property, you may be strongly considering just working with an investor. There are many good reasons to do this, including the possibility of getting the property sale handled quickly with little muss and fuss. Selling to an investor has the advantage of speed and convenience. Working with a real estate agent is more likely to maximize your profits.
I am a licensed Seattle real estate agent , and I am also an investor, so I have the unique perspective of being able to give you my opinion on both options. Every situation is different, but it most cases, I would tell you to go with a real estate agent listing if you can, when you are ready to sell your house because your property will get more exposure on the marketplace and you are likely to get a higher offer. The downside is, it can take more time and sometimes it’s a hassle.
How To Sell Your Seattle Area Home
So you’ve decided to sell your house, but how should you sell it? Two of the most common options are working with an investor or working with a Seattle agent to sell your house. Both ways have distinct benefits depending on your unique selling situation. One approach, though, comes out on top for most sellers most of the time – working with an agent. So let’s take a look at 6 ways working with a Seattle agent is better than working with an investor to sell your house.
Drawbacks of Working with an Investor
First, let’s look at a couple of the disadvantages and pitfalls of working with an investor . . .
1. UNLIKELY TO SELL AT “FULL MARKET VALUE”
Investors are typically looking for a great deal that will allow them to make a profit on the house. As a result, working with an investor to sell your Seattle house often means selling for less. The price has to be discounted (significantly) or the house has to be sold on “terms” in order for the investor to make a profit. If he can’t profit, he can’t afford to work with you.
“Most investors,” industry insiders say, “are looking to buy homes at below market value. Or at least at a bargain. And because they don’t have to tell you what they’ve planned for your home – like tearing it down to build lucrative apartments – you might not know its true market value.”
In most cases, the investor will do some renovations to your home, if needed and then sell the fixed-up property at its new-and-improved value. If he buys on “terms” – that is, making payments to you over time – he may plan to rent it out for several years, and wait for the house to appreciate so he can sell it at full market value.
2. RISK OF SCAMS
Working with an investor (and without the assistance of an agent) can also make you more vulnerable to scams. This is especially the case with out-of-country investors.
Here’s a common scam scenario involving an “investor” who “posing as a foreign or out-of-town buyer.” This putative investor contacts the seller with an urgent plea to close right away. “The investor never wants to see the house; they just want to purchase it. The investor will then give a false cashier’s check or have an unsophisticated or unrepresented seller sign a purchase agreement for unfavorable terms, and before the seller knows it, he or she has been swindled out of money.”
While being the victim of a scam is something to watch out for, it is relatively unlikely. Most investors do their best to perform on their promises. However, they are often “wholesaling” the property – which means selling it right away to someone else who will do the rehab work on it. And if that rehab buyer doesn’t come through, then the person you made the contract with might not be able to buy it like he said he would. This can be frustrating if you are short on time.
The nice thing about working with an agent is that they are sworn to put your needs ahead of their own, and if they’re a good one, they are always educating themselves on negotiation and are improving their abilities to advocate on your behalf. In real estate, negotiating is one of the areas I really enjoy, and representing clients whom I can help out of a tight situation is something I find very extremely satisfying.
Advantages of Working With a Seattle Agent
There are definite advantages to working with a Seattle agent over working with an investor to sell your house . . .
1. LOCAL PRICING KNOWLEDGE
Pricing a house correctly when putting it up for a sale is often said to be one of the most important parts of having it sell quickly and for maximum profits. And it is – but it’s not that easy to get right. A good agent, though, has the knowledge of pricing in local markets, as well as plenty of experience, to help you price correctly.
If you price too high, the market will reject your home and it will languish unsold on the MLS, becoming a “stale listing.” If you price too low, it will attract a lot of attention, and buyers will bid it up to an appropriate market level, especially when its a competitive “seller’s market.”
And here’s how a Seattle real estate agent can help you with pricing. Your agent will “obsessively track the market and make note of any ups or downs that could affect your home’s value. As a result, they can make sure that your home is listed for an accurate amount that draws interest but still helps you sell for a strong price.”
Very often sellers who try to price their houses themselves either wind overpricing or underpricing. Computerized pricing estimates are only that – estimates – and do not take into account the condition of your home, neighborhood, and the latest market trends. To find out more about how an agent can help you with pricing, call (206) 578-3438.
2. NEGOTIATING EXPERTISE
After pricing and marketing, negotiating is probably the most important thing an agent does for sellers. An agent’s negotiating expertise, which will help you get the best deal possible, makes the listing commission a bargain.
In addition to negotiating on price, their are many other features of the offer that need to be mutually agreed upon by the buyer and seller. Things like the timing of the sale, type of financing the buyer receives, and re-negotiations after the on-site property inspection can all affect how quickly and smoothly the deal flows.
A good agent will always be looking out for your best interests. As a professional negotiator, she will “simultaneously fight for your interests and keep the deal from falling apart due to hurt feelings.” Again, to discover more about this, just call (206) 578-3438. I have taken thousands of dollars of negotiation trainings on all aspects of real estate because I think this is one of the most important ways an agent can add value to her client’s real estate deal.
3. HELP WITH “ALL THAT PAPERWORK”
Nobody likes paperwork. (Well, maybe my relatives who became attorneys do… I’ve got 5 of them in the family) but most “regular” folks like us do NOT like paperwork.
However, it is important to get the paperwork right because this explains exactly what the buyer and seller have agreed to and what the “consequences” are if they do not live up to their agreements.
Working with an agent instead of working with an investor also means that you’ll have help with all the legal subtleties and the mountain of paperwork involved in a real estate transaction. An investor may be helping with paperwork, but he will be potentially working against you – money you get is money he does NOT get. On the other hand, your agent works FOR you and WITH you to protect your interests and help you sell your home in the manner that you find most beneficial. In fact, hiring an agent could keep you out of legal hot water.
A real estate transaction is fraught with strict and rigorous regulations and guidelines and disclosure requirements. You can either learn all these things yourself or hire an agent to take care of them for you. If you don’t want to have to become a real estate expert, an agent is your best bet. Real estate agents used standardized forms and everything has been reviewed by their attorneys in advance. Your agent should be very familiar with “filling in the blanks” in a manner that is most beneficial to you and your situation.
In addition, “selling a home comes with paperwork. There’s no avoiding it, but working with [a Seattle real estate agent] can reduce and organize the documents you’ll need to generate and execute. Your [agent] will likely draft the sales agreement for you and work with a title company or attorney to prepare the closing documents when the transaction concludes.” And this can save an enormous amount of time and expense.
4. ACCESS TO OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS
And finally, remember that selling a house demands the services of various other professionals and service providers. Especially if you want to maximize your profits. If you were working with an investor, you’d most likely have to locate and engage all these people on your own. Or else the investor would bring in his crew, but you couldn’t be sure they were there to help YOU, and not HIM – their repeat customer.
But your agent will have a collection of curated people she uses regularly to make the whole process much smoother. Your Seattle real estate agent will have a list of preferred providers – mortgage professionals, inspectors, contractors, stagers, and so on – she has worked with in the past and whom you can trust as part of your needed team.