Why Do-It-Yourself Real Estate Isn’t Wise

Do It YourselfI am all for do-it-yourself projects. If you can save a little money and learn how to do something that will be a useful skill in the future… I say, go for it! But not all projects should be tossed into the pool of do-it-yourself (DIY) tasks.

There are a number of reasons why some DIY projects turn into a nightmare that results in more time, energy, and money spent trying to clean up the mess than if you’d hired a professional in the first place. As a business owner of a video production company, I’ve seen this happen too many times. Professionals who work in specialized fields are used to doing their jobs. They can create a video, for instance, quickly and efficiently whereas a novice might take months to get it done and then it looks like amateur work. That can mean lost time, money, and, in the end, the main gain is tons of frustration.

This same idea is why DIY real estate isn’t likely to be a wise choice for most people. Shopping for a home or selling a home requires a good amount of knowledge about the industry, the neighborhood, marketing, negotiation, home staging, and more. Most consumers simply don’t have all those skills and when it comes to buying or selling their own home, whatever skills they have can be compromised because personal emotions get involved.

A common mistake DIY (or for-sale-by-owners) sellers make is pricing their homes too high. Often sellers look at how much they owe on their homes and try to work backward from there to determine a price. The problem with that is, the buyer isn’t concerned with how much the seller owes. The buyer is comparing the home to those in the neighborhood. But often cash-strapped sellers are looking to make a bit more so they may try to push the price higher in hopes of creating more cash flow.

Listing a home for more than its competitive value can prove to be very unsuccessful. A lot of times, an overpriced home will get very few showings. The longer it sits on the market, the more “stale” it gets. When buyers and their agents see this, they often know to play the waiting game and let the humble fall begin for the seller. Eventually, there will be price reductions. How quickly this happens will depend on how motivated the seller is to close on the home.

Another reason hiring a professional real estate agent to handle your real estate transactions is smart is that it gives you an ally and someone to answer your questions. These days, real estate paperwork is getting more complicated and plentiful. When you attempt to go it alone, you’re taking on a lot of responsibility and risking making some very big and potentially costly mistakes.

I always recommend getting a firm understanding and education about any project you’re working on even if experts are hired. For instance, I had a water pressure plumbing issue recently and learned that even our own City officials didn’t completely understand the plumbing solution that was needed. By talking with experts and doing some research, I may have saved myself from some even bigger plumbing issues down the road. But I didn’t tackle this problem alone… I hired experts who had the job done in a few hours. The difference was not only receiving peace of mind but also quality care and expertise. A home is a major purchase/sale. Choose wisely how you proceed through the transaction.

Written by Phoebe Chongchua