A good real estate agent makes selling a house look easy, but consider these five factors before you go full-on FSBO.
We totally get it: At the end of the already arduous selling process, it can be painful to turn over that 6% commission. And when you really start to crunch the numbers, it’s very tempting to forgo the listing agent altogether and enter the “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) fray.
But there are advantages of using a real estate agent that you might not be counting on. Maybe your real estate agent is also an expert stager. Maybe they’ve got handyman friends and can help you get a really good price on a little fix-it work before your home joins the ranks of homes for sale in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Maybe they’ve connected you with the most honest mortgage lender in the city.
Never mind that a great agent also can get you a better sale on your property. “The agent can save you time and money and fetch a higher selling price by driving more traffic to the home and creating a buzz,” says Katherine Salyi of The Serhant Team at Nest Seekers International in New York.
Here are five reasons to opt out of FSBO hell and hire a real estate agent to help with selling your home.
They market your home for free
Selling your house is really about marketing your house, which means producing marketing materials for said house. Translation: cash out of pocket and potentially subpar materials if you’re attempting to tap into those long-dormant graphic design skills.
But when you sign with that magical agent, they take over. As Salyi points out, professional photographs, postcards, brochures, advertisements, and a proper floor plan are just some of the materials that an agent whips up on your behalf — then distributes to contacts you couldn’t even hope to have.
They’re stage parents
You may love your homey living-room setup, but that arrangement probably doesn’t show off the space in the best way for selling. A savvy agent will come in, objectively assess your space, and then gently tell you what to keep and what to toss (or store) so that the space presents better. An even savvier agent will redistribute your existing furniture for maximum aesthetic appeal, then add accents for flair.
If you’re lucky, they might even have staging furniture at their easy — and free — disposal. And that sharp eye can extend to lesser-trafficked rooms as well. “I often suggest redecorating instead of renovating an out-of-date bathroom — you’d be surprised how far new white towels and a shower curtain can go!” says Salyi. As for bedrooms, “simple, inexpensive changes like paint and new linens make a world of difference to potential buyers.”
They know (the right) people
The best agents are the ones who set you up with their squad. Need a backyard refresh before putting your home on the market? They’ll hook you up with their go-to, well-priced landscape architect … who just happens to be available at a moment’s notice. Need someone to tackle all those small but beyond-DIY home repairs? Agents always know the neighborhood handymen who are familiar with the architecture of the area. Freaked out about the loan process? Your agent’s mortgage broker is the one who will find you the best rate and walk you through the process without any BS.
During the stress of the selling process, it’s easy to throw your hands up and just toss money at a problem — money you don’t really have and don’t really need to spend. Your agent is there to save you from your own panicked impulses.
They’ll get you more money
Do you have any true idea of how the home-selling magic works? Don’t worry: agents do. The more you get paid, the more they get paid — and so they’ll do anything in their power to push up that price. Sometimes that means underpricing to create a bidding war; sometimes that means showing the property before listing to get that supermotivated buyer to pay all cash, with a quick closing to boot.
But whatever their strategy, they’ll have a strategy. And once an offer comes in, they’ll know if and how you should counter, and what that counteroffer should look like. Higher price, different closing date, different contingencies, fees exclusion — use your agent to get into the weeds of the final negotiations.
They save you time — and time is money
Bottom line: Your agent is there to do the things you cannot. Selling your home is an arduous process that requires multiple thinking caps you might not personally have at your disposal.
Never mind that it’s also a major time-suck. “If you have to take time off from work to show your home to potential buyers, it’s costing you money,” Salyi says. “Helping people sell their homes is a real estate agent’s full-time job. Let us do the work for you!”