Originally Posted By: jhagarty
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
By: Mischa Aaron Arnosky
The DIY (do it yourself) method is a sure way to save money.
Changing your own oil or coloring your own hair could save you $20 (plus the cost of a hat). Cooking dinner for two instead of going out could save you $60 and selling a house own your own, sans Realtor, could save you $17,250 - an actual five-digit savings?
Thomas Keenan, along with partner Joseph Ciccitto, thinks so. Keenan and Ciccitto, longtime real estate attorneys, have just opened a division of their law firm called Home Sale Services on Main Street in Collegeville. The idea is to sell a house without a realtor by having an attorney draw up the necessary paperwork - like bill of sale, mandatory inspection contingencies, risk of loss, default provisions, settlement cost responsibilities and credits. The previous savings is based on what Keenan estimates a $300,000 home would bring in real estate fees at 6 percent, less his firm's flat fee of $750.
Keenan said selling homes has become much easier for people to do own their own with the help of the Internet and said this especially applies to homes in the Perkiomen Valley area that "practically sell themselves."
"In many cases a Realtor is unnecessary," Keenan said. "In the Perkiomen Valley many people are selling homes on their own because 6 percent seems high."
Keenan said many people selling houses in the area are highly educated and work for local drug companies.
So why pay the $750 fee for an attorney? Why not just go completely on your own? Keenan said each agreement between a homeowner and buyer is unique.
"It would be a big mistake not to have a professional [do the paperwork]," Keenan said. "It's a lengthy document that deals with mortgages, inspections and there's no backing out of it."
The potential savings is huge, but Keenan admits that his company doesn't help the homeowner find buyers or sell the home.
Sandy Zentz, a Realtor with Remax in Royersford, said Realtors do more than write up agreements.
"[Realtors] find the market property value on many levels, complete a competitive market analysis and negotiate an agreement," Zentz said. "We follow the sale all the way through."
Zentz said it is possible to sell a house cheaper through an attorney service, and that 6 percent is reasonable, but that method is typically reserved for inter-family sales.
"Paying a flat fee to have an agreement written up is generally a transaction between family members, like a parent to child," Zentz said.
Zentz said the popularity of such services might have been due to the real estate market lately. She said in the past there were many more buyers than sellers, but that trend is changing.
"Yes, we've had more buyers than sellers in the past and it was easier to sell a house on your own," Zentz said. "We've been seeing it change, though. Houses that used to be sold within days are now staying on the market for months."
Keenan, who has been involved in real estate law for more than 20 years, said he thinks the time is coming for homeowners to sell their homes without Realtors.
"It's a brand new company," Keenan said. "We've been getting calls all the time from people looking to sell their own home so we figured we'd start a company. We've done numerous agreements of sales already - its time is coming."
Home Sales Services can be reached at www.homesaleserviceinc.com.