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Once upon a time, home sellers relied on print ads and “for sale” signs to spread the word about their property. But the internet has changed all that.
The advertising and marketing aspect of home selling has been somewhat digital for a while, what with multiple listing services (MLS) — which professional agents peruse — and popular real estate marketplace sites like Zillow. Email ads and solicitations are also common. But thanks to advances in technology, the entire real estate transaction now can be done exclusively online, from initial listing to final closing.
If you’re interested in selling your home digitally, here’s what you need to know and how to go about it, whether you are using a real estate agent or doing it all on your own.
The online home selling experience
If you list your home for sale, chances are it’ll appear online on your broker or agent’s company website, as well as on the MLS and popular real estate listings platforms. This can help you reach a wide array of prospective buyers — especially since they’re looking online, via real estate apps and sites.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, an estimated 95 percent of homebuyers used the internet to find properties, with 41 percent starting the buying process by viewing online listings. Virtual home tours are also on the rise, with Redfin reporting that 63 percent of buyers made an offer on a home sight unseen in 2020. Additionally, buyers and sellers no longer need to be present at the closing table, as virtual closings are an option in 44 U.S. states.
Ways to sell a home online
There are several different ways to sell a home online, including:
- Sell to an instant buyer (iBuyer): An iBuyer is a company that purchases homes online directly from private sellers with the goal to resell the home at a profit. These companies rely on computer algorithms to determine home prices, and they can make an offer quickly and save you the hassle of listing, marketing and showing your home. However, iBuyers aren’t available in all regions, and they typically charge service fees of around 5 percent.
- Sell with a real estate agent: Selling with a real estate agent who lists your home online is another option. Generally, real estate agents charge commissions of 5 to 6 percent of your home’s sale price. But they list, market, schedule showings and handle paperwork on your behalf, which is a huge timesaver.
- Sell it yourself: Listing your home online on your own as a “for sale by owner“(FSBO) property is another option, which could help you save money on real estate commissions. However, you’ll also need to design the listing, market your home, manage showings and handle all the paperwork.
The internet has made doing-it-yourself more tempting in many ways, but it may not be as easy as it looks, many real estate pros warn. “Marketing is limited,” says Jon Sanborn, a licensed San Diego Realtor and co-owner of SD House Guys. “…….