The majority of real estate agents use something called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to see which homes are on the market, get details on the homes and find contact information for listing agents. If your home is not on the MLS, agents (and buyers) may have trouble finding it.
If you’re selling your home yourself and want it included on the MLS, you’ll need to pay a one-time fee for an agent to list your home for you. This agent will pass along all contact attempts. So you won’t personally be able to list the home, and you’ll have to go through a third party to receive interest.
If you don’t pay the one-time fee and don’t list on MLS, you’ll need to rely on your own advertising efforts, or on an agent or buyer finding your home on a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) website.
Reliability and Trust
If you’re selling a home yourself, some agents will be leery of working with you, and that can shrink the pool of potential buyers.
If you choose to list with an agent who is a member of the MLS, your listing immediately gets a level of reliability and trust that comes with your agent’s licensure.
As a homeowner, it’s easy to be passionate about where you live. It’s your home, after all! But you may also see your place through rose-colored glasses. You may like the bold color scheme or custom bar in the living room, but not all buyers will have the same tastes.
An agent will help you put things in proper perspective and ensure that your home appeals to a wider range of buyers. An agent will also let you know what updates may need to be done to get top dollar for your place.
While the goal is to get the highest price possible, that’s best achieved by pricing the home right the first time. A home gets more traffic during its first week on the market than any time after that; you want your home priced correctly when the most people are looking at it.
An agent will do a comparative market analysis to determine a fair price for your home – and it’s the fair price that is most likely to attract buyers.
Advocacy and Skill
Agents are expert negotiators and are experienced with real estate documents.
If you don’t have an agent to ask, you’re either going to be asking the buyer’s agent, who doesn’t have your interests at heart, or you’re going to be stuck going with your gut – or maybe basing your decision on Internet research. None of these are optimal solutions. A listing agent will explain each situation to you and work toward a solution most favorable to your interests.
Having a brokerage arrange tasks associated with selling your home can be a huge time saver.
Additionally, part of a listing agent’s job is to arrange to have the home shown for you. If a potential buyer wants to tour your house while you’re at work or when you’re taking a long weekend at a friend’s cabin, your agent makes all the arrangements. If you’re listing the place yourself, this means you’re showing the home yourself. This includes coordinating times with agents and canceling personal plans on short notice to accommodate hot-on-the-trail buyers.
The Right Fit
Remember that your agent should expect to earn their commission – you should understand why you’re paying what you are for their services. Selling your home is a big decision, and an emotional one, too. Finding an agent you feel comfortable with is important. You need someone whom you trust, who has a strong track record and who has a personality you’re comfortable working with.