You are a considering selling your home but should you get a listing agent to list it for you? The realization that selling a house takes a lot of hard work is pertinent. Many homeowners seek to save money by considering selling without a listing agent to assist. Most seller’s primary reason for this option is to save the cost of the average fee of 6% commission paid a listing agent for the services they provide.
Let’s start with the concept of selling with an agent will cost too much money from your sale. One study by the National Association of Realtors found that in 2017 median listings sold by a listing agent closed at an average price of $250,000. Homes that sold by way of For Sale by Owner transactions for median homes sold at an average price of $190,000. With these figures it can be determined that the difference in profit to a seller is a bit higher with an agent’s assistance. If a seller calculated the cost of the 6% commission this would mean the residual after the listing agent fee would still leave $235,000.
The study further revealed that the average median sale took only 3 weeks to receive and accepted offer. With the current market having selling prices at an all time peak in pricing, this length of time is considered to be exceptional. These results are due to professional agents having efficient marketing plans based on the sales trend in the neighborhoods they work in. Often times, an agent sells 2 or 3 houses a month making them efficient and knowledgeable. A for sale by owner seller may experience the sale of a home maybe 2 or 3 times in a lifetime. Real estate laws and processes changing during the interim between each sale leaves an individual seller at a disadvantage when it comes to being knowledgeable and efficient.
A listing agent due to their licensing and access to the most recent sales can accurately evaluate your home considering all of it’s features compared to other homes that have the same or similar features to get a clear view of a likely selling price of your home. Usually these evaluations referred to as CMA’s (Comparative Market Analysis) are accurate enough to be confident that your home will pass an appraisal evaluation. An appraisal is usually required for a loan approval for buyers on the home they wish to purchase. Also, of most importance, listing your house within the right price point area will ensure your home will sell more quickly. Without a CMA a for sale by owner seller would have to pay the cost of an appraisal to get an accurate price. If the agent has been retained as your representative usually your selected agent will provide a FREE CMA as a part of their property evaluation before listing your home.
The largest percentage of buyers use a buyers agent to locate and complete a sales transaction for a home. Buyers agents’ primary starting point is the MLS to locate homes for their buyers. The MLS exposes your listing to thousands of real estate agents that are representing buyers if listed in the MLS. For an independent seller, the cost of paying a third part service can be costly to put your home in the MLS for a relatively short period. If you have hired a listing agent they generally will put your home in the MLS for as long as it takes to get a buyer at no additional cost. Further, many agents belong to more than one MLS system. For example in the Atlanta Georgia area there is the FMLS and the GAMLS which appeal to different audiences both inside and outside the city perimeter. Real Estate brokerages also work with other third party advertisers that are popular for consumer home shopping. Agents usually have access to these websites at much lower cost than an independent seller.
Most listing agents have membership in the Supra Key box system. This lockbox service requires an individual with membership as a licensed agent that has passed a background check before they can utilize the monitored key box system. The box will record and report to the listing agent every time a buyer enters your home with a buyer’s agent. The listing agent receives notice of entry, the agents license number, office address, phone contact, and their brokers information. Further the key box generates a request of the buyer’s agent to send feedback to the listing agent. The feedback gives your listing agent details on such things as what the buyer didn’t like or thought was great about the house which makes it easier for your listing agent to address things that could be improved. Most importantly the supra key box creates a safety protection for the owner’s house.
Your listing agent can and will tell you what items to put away and even how to stage or rearrange your furniture to be most appealing to what buyers are looking for in a living space. If you have moved out of your house your agent can assist you with getting your home staged for the listing pictures. In most cases a third party provides this service and it may be an added expense you may want to consider if you can afford to do so. Usually agents network with stagers in the industry and can get better pricing than an independent seller because they use the services more frequently.
If your home is in a metropolitan area or a sought after subdivision or community your agent most likely will recommend an open house usually on your first available weekend. Open houses create an environment to let home buyers that are actively shopping be able to without pressure walk through and see several houses in person. Your agent will usually sit with you at your initial consult and have you fill out a seller’s disclosure. A written list of all the things that you feel are great about your house and even some of the not so good things is a good idea. This will help your agent to be able to answer any questions open house viewers may have. Open houses usually lasts several hours so you should be prepared to plan an outing on the day of the open house so your agent can do the work for you and screen for potential qualified buyers.
Usually showings are very active for the first week or two of your house being on the market. Because you have hired an agent you will not have to take off at any time to allow showings as the buyer’s agent and your agent if the interested buyer has no agent will take care of all the showings. Listing agents usually set the lock box availability for times when you are away during business hours or notify you in advance if someone wishes to view the house on weekends so you have time to leave for a short time to allow the showing to occur.
Upon a buyer making an offer your agent steps into high gear with negotiations to get you the most they can in the contractual agreement between the buyer and seller. Unlike selling your home alone the agent completes all legal contracts carefully to make sure all things comply with your state’s laws. Upon acceptance the agent coordinates such things as the appointments needed for inspections, appraisals, and any other presale items that must occur. Your listing agent also deals with all the paperwork that comes with a loan financed purchase as well as dealing with all the documents required for the closing attorney to complete the sale. All of this occurs without you having to do anything besides show up at the closing for the designated date. Unlike selling yourself, with a listing agent if any errors or omissions are made on legal documents these are usually covered by the agent’s insurance since they were responsible for handling the legal documents on your behalf.
As can be seen from the long list of things listing agents provide it is evident that for most, it is a no brainer to pay the agent fees for the services they provide. If your real estate knowledge, funds for advertising, and scheduling times are limited, a listing agent may be a better option for you.
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