Vail Daily column: Can you sell your own house? |

Vail Daily column: Can you sell your own house?

Joan Harned

​Dear Joan,

My friend thinks he can sell his own house and save thousands in commission. I know you discussed this once before, and he reads your articles, but he must have missed it or has a “selective” memory. He is a bright person and is no dunce when it comes to math, but I sometimes question his people skills. I am worried he will get himself in a legal bind and it will end up costing him everything he might have saved and hurt his own reputation and business in the long run. Please weigh in so I can talk to him one more time.

Dear Good Friend,

Let me count the ways you can go wrong selling your own property, if you are not an expert in that field. Ask him if he would fill his own cavity, represent himself in a lawsuit or draw his own building plans, if he had no expertise in those fields. There are lots of pitfalls that can cost him a lot of money, from pricing too low or too high, disenchanting clients by his lack of people skills, negotiating poorly over the price and/or inspection items and losing the buyer over impossible deadlines, to name a few.

Besides all of the possible wrong turns that can be made, he needs to understand today’s buyers. According to the National Association of Realtors statistics, today’s buyers want to be represented. Over 87 percent of buyers use Realtors for their home purchases. They want to be represented by an expert when they make one of the larger purchases they make in their lives. We are a society that has infinite access to information now.


However, we have learned to beware. A lot of the information is misleading, or misrepresents the truth, or doesn’t even remotely resemble the truth. A public website, with homes for sale information, my be fun and easy to use, but it will not be current and there is no substitute for local knowledge of the area, neighborhood and often that particular home, when you are considering buying.

Realtors almost always show homes that are listed in the MLS first, because they immediately look up properties on the local MLS and they know that they have protection when they show and sell that home. They know the signed listed price, the terms that the seller has agreed to in writing, and they know they will be compensated and how much they will receive.

Be Cautious

Realtors will seldom be aware of the for sale by owner and are leery about showing them for the above mentioned reasons. If an unrepresented buyer does come to your friends home, should he decide to sell it unrepresented on his side, then that buyer is definitely looking for a lower than market value “deal” because he figures he can subtract a commission from the price and can probably talk the seller into giving up more than if the seller had a professional on his side.

I haven’t even touched on any of the reams of paperwork and disclosures that are needed. Please see if you can get your friend to at least talk to a skilled, successful, hard working Realtor, so that the Realtor can show him that he can actually net more money by using a professional. You are a good friend and you are doing him a great favor. Best of luck.

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or http://www.SkiAnd

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