When selling a home, the advantages of using a REALTOR translate into sizeable savings in money, time and peace of mind.

According to recent research conducted in the Milwaukee area by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), 95% of homes for sale were listed with a REALTOR. In addition, the overwhelming majority of sellers were pleased with their experience. 97% of survey respondents said they would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.

“There’s a good reason why sellers rely on the experience of a REALTOR,” says Angela Walters, board chair for the Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® (GMAR). “They have the expertise and resources needed to make the process smooth while bringing the right buyers and sellers together for the best price.”

Accurate Pricing is Key to Success

Setting the right price for a home is critical to a successful sale. Often FSBO listings are priced based on a quick internet search. Since estimated values on these sites are developed by algorithms, not people, they typically present an inaccurate value for the home. They likely haven’t factored in the neighborhood’s specific market conditions or current demand.

“Online real estate marketplaces haven’t been in the house that’s going up for sale,” says Amy Curler, a REALTOR and general manager with First Weber in West Bend. “They don’t know if granite countertops have been added, if the house smells like a pet, or what, if any, updates are needed.”

REALTORS accurately pinpoint the best price by conducting a detailed, full market analysis and having a thorough understanding of what buyers are looking for.

“A REALTOR is skilled at maximizing a home’s value so that a buyer is actually willing to pay the highest price, sometimes even over asking price,” Curler says.

In 2021, the typical FSBO home sold for $225,000 compared to $330,000 for REALTOR-assisted home sales. So, while the primary reason for wanting to sell FSBO is to save money, a REALTOR sale puts much more money in the pocket of the seller.

Cost Savings and Greater Exposure

Working with a REALTOR saves the seller money in other ways, too. Getting the home ready requires cleaning, organizing and de-cluttering, landscaping, interior updates, professional photography, staging, appraisals and inspections. REALTORS tap into their vast networks of contacts to ensure the home looks its best in the quickest and most affordable way.

REALTORS also assume marketing costs. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) databases drive exposure far beyond what a FSBO can. According to Beth Jaworski, a REALTOR with Shorewest, FSBO sellers are unable to tap into the power MLS and websites designed specifically for real estate agents.

“REALTORS match listings with their own web-based, qualified buyer profiles so that when a listing goes live, prospective buyers instantly receive texts and email alerts,” says Jaworski.

REALTORS also support listings with social media. Jaworski has about 1,300 Facebook and 900 Instagram followers.

“When I share a listing, it’s likely to get 500 views,” she explains. “A FSBO absolutely can’t match that.”

Savvy REALTORS also work cooperatively with other real estate professionals and use their plentiful contacts to extend their marketing reach for a listing.

Time Required

Selling a home takes a lot of time.

“Experience matters,” says Jean Stefaniak, a REALTOR with The Stefaniak Group. “A REALTOR’s time covers so much it would amount to another job for a FSBO. We stage the home, schedule open houses, host showings and tours and answer phone calls, texts and emails from buyers.”

And that’s just the beginning of the process.

When an offer comes through, a REALTOR knows how to review the document and manage multiple offers to negotiate the best price.

“Lenders are continually offering new kinds of deals to finance a home sale,” Jaworski says. “Understanding the complexities of a deal and managing the process from offer to close is where the power of a REALTOR makes a huge difference.”

Expertise Brings Peace of Mind

Real estate is no stranger to scams – a FSBO is particularly vulnerable to letting unscreened, unqualified people into their homes.

REALTORS utilize digital lockboxes to protect the security of sellers and diligently track who comes and goes from the property. REALTORS provide another layer of protection when it comes to contracts. They are required to keep their knowledge of contract law current and are adept at spotting questionable terms and conditions.

Because a REALTOR works only with pre-qualified buyers, knows the lending institutions and has a pulse on what’s happening in the marketplace, sellers are protected from fraudulent schemes in the best way possible.

The REALTOR® Advantage

A REALTOR is a member of the National Association of REALTORS, is committed to a Code of Ethics and has the expertise to find the right home for everyone. Look for the “R” to determine if your agent is a REALTOR.

Locally, the Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS is a 5,500-member strong professional organization dedicated to providing information, services and products to help REALTOR help their clients buy and sell real estate. Visit gmar.com for more information.

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