As we lived cooped up during rotating lockdowns, many of us were inspired to tap into our creative and resourceful selves fuelling a desire to learn new skills and a willingness to implement a changed behaviour. Whether decorating, landscaping, repairing or remodelling, many people have been going it alone and, in doing so, experiencing a sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. This empowerment of doing it yourself has also transferred into the world of real estate.
In the past, the only way to engage in real estate transactions was to work with a network of professionals. But today, the fundamental control is shifting as increased access to property data, a growth in online services, and the introduction of new business models are dramatically changing the way consumers are buying and selling property.
The real estate scene is stressful and complex, especially for first-time buyers and, while there are many rewards of doing it on your own, there are also many caveats to of which you need to be aware. Here are just a few of both.
- Your best interests will always be a priority, not in competition with agent’s other clients
- Simplify communication by asking questions directly to the seller/selling agent
- Work around your own schedule and not that of a busy agent
- Save money and enhance negotiating power as seller will be spared from paying buying agent commission, typically 3% of purchase price
- Maintain absolute control and make all decisions throughout the entire process
- Manage your own timelines and coordinate showings and house tours at your convenience
- Be directly involved in the negotiations, set your own terms and conditions
- Enhance profits by not having to pay selling agent commission, typically 3% of purchase price
- Unable to benefit from network of real estate professionals and associated resources
- Difficulty comparing property values as well as asking and sold prices in the neighbourhood
- Negotiate purchase price, counter-offers and close the deal without professional guidance
- Navigate legal matters and complete required documentation including complex sales contracts
- Requires significant time, energy and staying power with no one else to rely on
- Unable to benefit from expert knowledge about local market activity, industry updates
- Inaccessibility to MLS listing service, agent networks and marketing channels
- Investment of personal finances for ongoing advertising, promotional collateral, staging
The popularity of DIY real estate has led to a number of emerging companies who offer tips and tools for going it alone. As well, online forums for support and guidance, and new property-listing platforms are helping facilitate the process. Still, it’s important to remember that even when working with a team of professionals, buying and selling real estate is like a rollercoaster with inherent ups and downs, and inevitable twists and turns. So before moving ahead, do your research, weigh out the pros and cons, and make sure you’re prepared to strap in and ride the journey alone.