Matt Haughey writes that he bought a house this year without the help of a realtor and feels confident that he could also sell a house without a realtor:
We sold our first house and bought a new one this year and in the process learned that we really could do without a realtor, just as the authors described. We staged our old house ourselves, and pushed our realtor to get us on the weekly home tour. I took photos for our listing and helped write it, keeping in mind the lessons from the book and removed every empty phrase like “fabulous” and “wonderful” and replaced them with descriptive terms like “open” and “large”. We did all of our new home shopping online and by canvassing the city and calling builders with works in progress. We found and bought our new house without any realtors involved at all. It was surprisingly easy — whenever I was wondering what we were supposed to do at a stage in the financing/offer/escrow process, I could just punch up google and get all the info I needed. Google searches lead me to offer letter templates, legal ramifications for each document we signed, and how to find the best financing. While I like my realtor and consider her a personal friend, if we ever sell our new home, we’ll do it ourselves and save a few grand next time around.
If Matt feels comfortable handling a real estate transaction himself, good for him, but I think that finding a buyer for your home-for-sale and/or finding a home for you to buy are the least important tasks that a realtor does (or should do). Monitoring the legal aspects of the transactions is the most important role. I would feel very uncomfortable not having an experienced expert monitoring the process and advising me in the legal transactions.
When we sold and bought houses three years ago, we ended up finding the new house ourselves–which is pretty easy these days with everything online. But we needed to close on both houses on the same day, so we were super sensitive to a delay in either deal. Our realtor was in constant contact with the seller’s and buyer’s realtors for each deal, both title companies, and our mortgage lender to make sure everything went smoothly. He knew exactly what should be happening with each transaction at every point and he was hard-assed when necessary with the other parties to make sure they did their tasks competently and in a timely fashion. His diligence and expertise were well worth the fees we paid him (since we used him for both transactions, he waived one of our fees to him, which reduced our total realtor costs a bit).