2019 is turning out to be a strong hiring year for Maine companies like WEX, Covectrus, Tilson, and Tyler Technologies. In fact, employment growth is so strong in some parts of the state that Wallethub named Portland the sixth-best city for jobs in the country.
The steady influx of workers into the state is making it one of the hottest residential real estate markets in the country. Last year, the median home value, an even $233,000, saw a year-over-year change of 6.2%. It’s headed for similar growth this year.
Maine’s rosy economic picture and the demand for housing has many homeowners across the state jumping into the market. Not all of them are choosing the tried and true method of working with a professional realtor. Some home sellers try to save a few bucks in real estate agent commissions by putting up the “for sale” sign themselves.
While most home sellers are going through a real estate agent to ensure they sell for a peak price, there are a few common reasons some opt to go it alone. These owners may feel that they would rather put in the work to sell their home and pocket what would have been the agent’s commission on the sale.
But cutting out the agent may not be in the seller’s best interest. There are a host of services that real estate agents provide to make sure that your home sells fast and for a premium price. By getting you a higher sales price on a home, a good realtor will more than make up for the cost of their commission.
If you’ve been wondering if you want to go the FSBO route, here are some factors to consider. It’s our comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about how to sell a house by owner in Maine.
How Real Estate Agent Commissions work in Maine
One of the first concerns that home sellers have about working with a professional real estate agent is the commission on the sale. Most people aren’t entirely sure how the process works or how much it will be.
Generally, a home seller will pay the real estate commission (usually 6% total) divided evenly between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. That means a Maine home buyer with a home at the median value of $233,000 would pay a total of $13,980 in commission to be split by the realtors.
It’s natural for a homeowner to want to keep that money and not work with a real estate agent. But the reality is that in most cases, a real estate agent will more than earn the commission fee back by selling your home for a higher price than you would likely sell it for yourself.
There is always the possibility that you will under value your home and that could end up costing you tens-of-thousands of dollars. Also, it’s unlikely that you will not pay any sales commission at all. The buyer’s agent will still want their 3%.
As many as 36% of sellers put up FSBO listings every year, but only 11% of homes sell without the help of an agent. Study after study has shown that sellers who partner with agents get higher offers on average than FSBO-listed homes. A Clever Partner Agent can help you market your home through multiple listing services, create a social media campaign, and will negotiate your home’s sale.
By working with a professional real estate agent, you can also be confident that your home’s valuation is accurate. That way you can price it right from the start of the sales process. No one wants to undervalue their home.
But pricing it too high is also a hazard. You don’t want your home to stay on the market too long. It may force you to drop your asking price more than you want to.
Learn More: Average Real Estate Commission in Maine
Four Tips for Selling Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent in Maine
Price Your Maine Home Competitively
Want to sell your home quickly and for the best price? Then price it right. That’s easier said than done, however. It’s not easy to determine what a home should sell for.
You need to do your homework. That means getting up-to-the-date statistics and market analysis for Maine. As noted above, home values in the state have been rising rapidly over the past few years. But trends and market conditions vary from community to community.
For example, the median home value in Portland is $313,600. In Bangor, it’s less than half that at $146,700. A professional realtor will know the market trends in your specific neighborhood and can price your home so that it sells for the optimum price.
According to the National Association of Realtors, sellers who work with real estate agents get 33% more (on average) than those who choose FSBO. In Portland, that could be the difference of more than $100,000 for a median-valued home.
Clever Partner Agents are professionals who buy and sell homes across Maine every day. They know what buyers are looking for and how to market your home to prime candidates. By assessing your home value accurately, you can be confident you won’t sell your home for less than it is worth.
Learn More: How to Sell a House Fast in Maine
Stage, Market, and List Your Home to Attract Qualified Buyers
Because real estate agents buy and sell homes for a living, they are experts at marketing. As your own realtor you want to write powerful copy for your listing. You want to highlight your home’s unique features and make sure it catches the reader’s interest.
You will also want to stage your home to reel in a potential buyer. By renting furniture and adding modern or updated décor you can add thousands of dollars to your selling price. The same is true when it comes to hiring a professional photographer. The first images of your home are often the key to the sale. If you put up your home FSBO, make sure that you use the highest quality photos for your listing.
A professional real estate agent usually takes care of all of the marketing and listing aspects of selling your home. They understand the psychology and art of selling, and they know how to effectively use modern social media to showcase your home to the biggest possible buyer pool.
Learn More: How Much Does it Cost to Stage a Home?
Negotiate With Buyers to Get the Best Possible Price
If determining your home’s value is difficult, it’s even harder to negotiate the ins and outs of making a sale if you’re a novice. But if you’re putting up your home FSBO, it’s one of the things you will have to become proficient at quickly.
Remember, a buyer will likely have a professional realtor working with them. They make offers and counter offers as part of their job. That’s why you need to understand the latest market trends, statistics, and home valuations in your area. Otherwise, you could let a good offer pass by, or worse, get shortchanged in the sale.
As noted above, it’s not easy determining what your home’s true value is. It’s not uncommon for homes to sell for much more than the market value. That’s why it’s essential that you sharpen your negotiating skills if you opt for FSBO.
All Clever Partner Agents have access to the latest statistical information and market data to help you in the offer-counter-offer stage. They understand the dynamics of deal making. This, combined with their market analysis, can help you effectively maneuver through the negotiation stage. You can confidently accept or decline an offer based on an informed decision.
Learn More: Real Estate Counter Offer Etiquette (with Examples)
Understand Maine Legal Requirements & Paperwork Involved
As in most states, sellers have a variety of forms, contracts, deeds and certificates to sign when closing a deal in Maine. But unlike many other states, Maine does not have any formal disclosure obligations.
It is a “buyer beware” state for commercial and real estate transactions. But the fact is, when it comes to property transactions, sellers should also always be ware. Just because the state doesn’t have any legal disclosure obligations does not mean sellers can misrepresent a property sale.
It’s best to work with a professional realtor so that you know Maine’s peculiar legal requirements. They can help you avoid costly mistakes and guide you through all the necessary paperwork.
If you decide to sell on you own, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the state’s real estate laws. (Or hire a good lawyer.) A home buyer can sue for fraud or misrepresentation in some cases, and the seller does have a statutory duty to disclose certain major defects.
Learn More: How Much Paperwork is Required to Sell a Home without a Realtor?
The Pros and Cons of Selling Your Kentucky Home Without a Realtor
The biggest pro to selling your home without a realtor is obviously the savings in the commission fee. Some owners just don’t see the reason to pay part of their sale price to someone else to sell their home.
Others don’t want to give up control of the home selling process. That is, they want to set their own price, negotiate the deal, and make the final determination on counter-offers.
This can also be a negative. Many realtors do not like to show their clients FSBO properties because they find it difficult to work with home owners who act as their own agent. Many have bad experiences with FSBO sellers when it comes to negotiations because they have unrealistic expectations or a personal attachment to their home.
A good real estate agent will be an effective communicator, so that you are never out of the loop when it comes to selling your home. It’s your home, and a good realtor will let you call the shots.
They are experts who will offer you advice on what to do in each step of the process. You don’t need to become an expert appraiser, negotiator, and marketer. Instead, a great realtor will provide top-level services when it comes to all of these.
If you’re thinking of a FSBO listing, then you should weigh the potential savings in real estate commissions with the costs. Remember, what you save in money you will pay in time to list your property, or set up a professional photo shoot, or do the legal and market analysis that’s required for all home sales.
It’s best to let a professional real estate agent handle all of the details because they will likely get you more for your home. In the end, their services basically pay for themselves several times over.
Cost-Saving Alternatives for Maine Sellers
The attraction of FSBO listings is clear. They seem to offer the same end result: the sale of your home. But there’s one key difference. You don’t have to pay a realtor’s commission. However, the cost savings can be deceptive. You won’t get any of the services that a professional real estate agent provides and you may end up getting less for your home.
If you want to save money, there is an alternative to the FSBO option. By working with a flat fee Clever Partner Agent, you can save thousands of dollars. They charge a flat fee of $3,000 for homes that sell for less than $350,000 or just 1% if the property sells for more than $350,000.
Clever Partner Agents are full service, so you get all of the benefits of a professional realtor at a much lower cost. They are top-real estate agents from major companies like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX. Our Partner Agents will make sure your home sells fast and for its peak price.