We all have heard the term "influencer." Regardless of where you live, or what industry you are in, I am sure you know someone that is an "influencer" or perhaps you follow one on social media.
Before we dive into influencing big life decisions, let us be clear that this is not a knock on the influencer segment. In certain markets like fashion, cosmetics, food and beverage, and self-growth/motivation, it has made a complete change in how they market to consumers.
However, there seems to be a growing trend of "influencers" and "idols" that focus on major life decisions and incredibly significant financial expenses like home selling, education, and investments. This is where we pump the brakes.
When it comes to massive life and financial decisions, like real estate, why are you letting someone that does not know you, nor have you ever met, tell you what to do? They do not know your financial situation, your family situation, your life goals, your age, or even where you live.
Here are the top four influencer encouragements that seem to continue to pop up. For these, you need to look past influence and hype so that you can apply what works best for you.
There is consistent talk on social, and traditional media, about iBuyers. Specifically all the markets they cover, and the millions of dollars they continue to raise for their company. Seeing all of that, you would think it is the latest craze, and everyone is doing it.
The truth: The ibuyer market makes up only 10% of home sales. There are also conflicting studies on whether or not you are getting fair market value for your home when you use this service. But like anything that offers convenience, that usually comes with a cost. If you are in a hurry or don't want to deal with the process, then check it out. But, do your research thoroughly on this process before diving in just because someone you don't know said you HAVE to sell this way.
SELLING ON YOUR OWN
This one is probably the most well known. You will hear a lot of people say that you will lose money if you sell your home on your own.
The truth: It all depends on what the home seller knows about market value and the selling process. You can google "I made more money selling on my own" and get a ton of articles telling you how great it is to sell on your own. You can then google "how realtors make you more money than For Sale By Owner", and you will also get a ton of articles on how realtors make you more money. Isn't the internet great?! If you know a lot about determining market value and know the process well, then give it a go. If you don't know anything about selling a home, then start reading (a lot of reading)! It isn't as simple as just listing a price and finding a buyer. There is a lot of legal work that goes into the process, so be sure to know what you are doing and that you are legally covered if you choose this path.
USING A REALTOR
With the iBuyer hype, and new products rolling out consistently, there has been a pretty big question mark on real estate agents and their value.
The Truth: Using a real estate agent is still the most popular choice when it comes to selling a home. It also can be one of the more expensive options when you add in the commission rates. If you don't have a lot of time, don't understand the market, don't want to do a lot of reading, and want someone else to deal with it, then maybe this will work for you. If you do choose this route, make sure you interview a few agents and find one that you can trust. Also, don't be afraid to ask for references and talk about commission rates. Be open about what you are willing to pay.
ONLY RENT A HOME or ONLY OWN A HOME
This is a big one! Again, hit google and search both of those sentences. You will get a plethora of reasons for both cases.
The Truth: The only right answer is the one that works for you, not for someone that you don't know you. For me, why would I rent a home? I have two kids in a good school district, happy jobs, a home we love, and no intention of moving for many years. If I am not going anywhere, why would I pay rent to someone else? For someone else, maybe they don't love where they are living, and are not sure what their next move will be? Why would they invest in a home if they might not want to live there in a year or two?
We know it's hard to avoid the influence as you hear what they say, you see it on social, and then the 'power of three' in marketing kicks in when the media talks about it. The more you listen to it and see it, the more your brain gives it credibility (good ole marketing). But please remember, none of the people that you follow know anything about you. While you can read their opinions, take it with a grain of salt and apply what you learn to what works best in your life, not what works best in their life.
The truth is, there is no one great answer that will work for everyone in the industry, and that is ok.
This is a great time for home sellers and buyers, as you have time (well, less time if you are a buyer in most markets), you have options, and you have real resources to find the right answer for you.