As I sat down to write this post, I asked myself what is new with my law practice. The answer was easy. I am doing a lot of real estate contracts and closings. For years have I have done only a few each year. Why the change? The answer is obvious. People who are selling their homes for less than $350,000 do not need a Realtor. They put a sign up or tell a few people and buyers show up. It s that simple for those who have a well maintained home in a good neighborhood that is priced realistically.
The real estate statistics that I have reviewed confirm the ease of selling homes worth less than $350,000. There are very few available, so when such a home becomes available it sells almost immediately. The statistics also show that there are plenty available for $700,000 or more and that sellers of those home have to lower their asking price if they want to sell.
The people who are using me to help with their real estate transactions usually pay me somewhere around $500, depending on the services they request, instead of the $18,000 they would pay a Realtor(s). Seems like a pretty easy decision. The reason they do not need the Realtor is that they do not need any help in finding a buyer. That is the main function of the Realtor. Realtors strongly disagree with the observation that their main function is to find a buyer. Instead they claim that they provide great expertise in filling out the form contract (really? its a fill in the blank form which I believe is one of the worst contracts ever. It is horrible, because the mark of a good contract, is a contract that is easily understood by the parties. The form Realtors must use is almost impossible for the untrained to understand. Thus, it is clearly a horrible contract. Though it is horrible, it is usually easy to plug in the names, address, dates, etc in the blanks. You just need to read each paragraph a few times to figure out what it means). Realtors also assert that they provide great service in assisting the parties prepare for closing, etc. A good title company closing agent will do all that. I agree that an experienced Realtor can offer some sage advice now and then, but the big thing that the Realtor adds to the transaction is finding that buyer for the sellers home.
An attorney can prepare the above described form contract or even a better contract and do everything else that is usually needed to close the deal for a few hours of attorney time. So in the current real estate market in Fort Collins, Colorado, if you are selling a home for less than $350,000 you should consider selling the home yourself and use an attorney to provide the help that you might need, such as contract preparation, disclosures, etc.