Your next home relies on the sale of this one. Unless you are in the unique position of having discretionary spending enough to cover the cost of two mortgages concurrently, you need the proceeds from the sale of your current home to purchase your next home. And when you can’t move forward with plans for your next home, that means you also are not able to coordinate where the children will go to school. Or what service providers you’ll use to fix your car or treat a sick family member. Or where you will seek employment, if you are a military spouse uprooted from a job with your PCS. This can create a snowball of logistics that are on hold pending the finalization of the sale of your home. You need to sell your house quickly so that you can start working to set your family up for success in your new future home. And real estate agents expedite that process because they are in tune with the local marketplace and trends.
You’ve got enough on your plate already. A PCS means having a checklist of your checklists. You have possessions to inventory. Household goods to move or store. Vehicles to arrange transport for. Records to obtain from medical providers, employers, and schools. Commitments to end. Utilities to arrange. Insurance policies to revisit. Pets to vaccinate. Accounts to move or close. Finances to coordinate. Future home research to conduct. Family and friends to connect with before you leave. If you spent all day of every day working out the details, you’d still wake up every morning with an overwhelming feeling of all that is still left to do. Selling your home on your own in the midst of all that? That’s a tremendous number of balls up in the air, with a strong likelihood that something will be forgotten or come crashing down.
You need a reliable timeline. There is more to selling your home than giving tours to potentially interested parties. There are inquiries on your listing to manage, showings to coordinate, and screenings of potential buyers to determine if they are in fact pre-approved or at least pre-qualified to make a purchase. There is legal paperwork to complete, contracts to negotiate, several kinds of inspections to manage, and more. If selling your home is not your full-time job, then you will be trying to fit these activities into an already full schedule, which means that the number of potential buyers who see your home is limited to your availability to engage with them. Selling your home is your real estate agent’s full-time job.
Market exposure is important. The military community is a great resource. You likely have a wonderful village of people who will be happy to share your home listing with their friends and family. What you don’t have is exposure to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) database and to all the other sites receiving data from that site. Your village’s friends and family aren’t all in the market for a home. But the thousands of potential buyers in the database? They are. And like you when you PCSed, in a military community your next buyer is not likely coming from down the street. A sign in the yard and an ad in the paper isn’t enough. Global reach is important. Using a real estate agent gets your listing in front of significantly more eyes than you could ever hope to. Your village just got a whole lot bigger.
Inexperience can be costly. Even if you’ve PCSed half a dozen times already, even if you’ve bought and sold more houses than you care to think about by now, know this: The average real estate agent sells about twelve homes per year (National Association of Realtors 2017 Member Profile). And we know you won’t be using just an average real estate agent because you’re a pro PCSer who will have done your homework, gathered your intel, and found a great military-savvy agent to advocate for you. [CAN TIE IN LINK TO OUR PREVIOUS “THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A REAL ESTATE AGENT” PIECE HERE]. In other words, you’ll want to work with someone who has been through this process numerous times—someone who knows how best to price a property, how to avoid expensive mistakes, and how to negotiate exceptionally well. The investment in a trained and experienced real estate agent can very easily cover the cost of their commission.
Speaking of commission… A seller-agent relationship is one of mutual benefit. Both parties profit when you get at or above your asking price. You share the same desired outcome: top dollar for your property. Real estate agents are incredibly motivated to see you both do well, and it’s their job to make that happen.