Probably all of us at some point when selling real estate have sought "I can do this myself". You may have even tried to sell yourself and in the end chosen to contact a real estate agent. We all want to save that money because we've heard those commissions can be outlandish. If we can save a few thousand dollars and sell it ourselves, we tend to feel more empowered, confident, and experienced when it comes to real estate. However, real estate agents don't just walk into an office hoping to get a job; it's a profession that takes years of study, continued education, tests and approval before that license is handed out. Real estate professionals need to know about equal housing laws, nondiscriminatory actions, laws, taxes and rules that are in place to protect the buyer and the seller.
Most real estate agents preferred either by or sell real estate. Those that prefer to buy real estate for their clients are considered "buyers agents", or "selling agent", since they are the ones that brought the buyer that actually got the property sold. The listing agent is the licensed agent or broker that spoke with the seller and took the listing. Their job is to market that listing to potential buyers through the local MLS, through associated buyers agents, in print and online. The more marketing a particular property gets, chances are the higher the offer and more potential buyers.
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Agents get paid on a commission after the sale of a property. That commission is typically split between the agents involved in the transaction. The commission percentage is agreed-upon between the seller and the listing agent before taking the listing. This is negotiable and you are free to talk with your agent about this fee.
Agents then have the seller sign a contract that allows the listing agent a set amount of time to sell the property. The listing agreement can be renewed, canceled or extended at any time. The agent then researches comparable houses in the area in order to come up with a listing price but it is the seller that ultimately makes the final decision on the price. Sellers should consider all the options, price range and facts the agent has brought to the table and really trust that agent to price the home correctly.
Once the house price is set, the listing hits the market on the MLS and all potential buyers can view the home online or in person should they choose. The listing agent's job is to market the property but really doesn't have to do anything more than list the home on the MLS and facilitate the transaction.
This is where GREAT agents come into play. While any agent can list the property, a great agent will market the property. Talk to buyers agents, promote the house on their website and in social media and really get the word out to everyone about the house. It isn't something that is just done the day of the listing, but every day until there is an offer.
But isn't that something that any homeowner can do?
Yes, and you should! All help can be beneficial. But then an offer comes in. If you are listing your house by yourself, how will you know if you are protected with all the legal jargon in the offer? Maybe the buyer doesn't have an agent either and really has no idea how to write up an offer? This again is where a listing agent is so valuable. We can decipher all the terms and verbiage in an offer and make sure you are protected during the transaction. This alone can be worth it.
Read more: How to Sell a House Yourself
Also, on average, people that sell their homes on their own tend to get less money at closing than had they used an agent. The reason is poor planning and pricing. Many homeowners will list their property higher than the market allows for and when they don't sell the home, drop the price. But by the time they drop the price to where it should be or even far below, they've now gone lower than where it should've been priced at the beginning. In the end, many for sale by owner sellers have actually lost money on the home.
Yes, you can sell a home yourself but it can lead to a lot of stress and lost money. Is it really worth it? You can always try on your own, especially in a hot market, but again, not understanding the legal jargon and wording in an offer or a listing agreement could cost you money, items or a good night sleep.