Do You Need a Real Estate Agent When Selling a Home?

If you're selling a home, you're probably considering a real estate agent. Then again, you might be running in the other direction. Real estate fees are huge and getting bigger all the time. Depending where you live, a real estate agent can take up to 10% of your closing price, something you should definitely factor in when thinking about how to price your home.

Of course, real estate agents have their good points, too -- selling a home privately is not for everyone. Before you try, make sure you read the following tips.

Should I use a real estate agent?

There are many benefits to using a professional real estate agent. First of all, real estate agents are professionals. They have training in how to market and sell your home. They can advise you on realistic prices, help you make deals, and provide general expertise.

Real estate agents also network among each other. They have access to online and offline advertising you won't be able to use, which means they can sell your house more quickly and expose it to more people. Also, if someone approaches a real estate agent looking to buy a house, they are certainly not going to contact someone selling privately -- they will network with each other to maximize fees.

So using a real estate agent probably means your house will sell more quickly and efficiently. If you're in a hurry, this might not be the time to mess around with private sales.

If, on the other hand, you have plenty of time, it can't hurt to put your house on the market privately first -- you can always contact an agent if it doesn't sell. You'll save money on real estate fees and be able to offer your home at a lower price since everything you collect will be profit.

How to sell your home privately

If you decide to try selling a home by yourself, here are some tips to make things smoother:

1. Ask for a realistic price. Many real estate agents offer free assessments of the value of your home. Failing that, turn to online and paper publications and look for homes in your area of similar size and style to see what they're selling for.

2. Advertise, advertise, advertise! Signs on the lawn, ads in the paper, and especially online sources -- that's how most people shop these days, like it or not. Every time you have a chance to advertise your home, take it.

3. Use word of mouth. That's how most people achieve private sales. Tell everyone you know that you're looking to sell and encourage them to have friends and family members contact you.

If you follow those three tips and don't see much interest after a month or two, you have two choices: lower your price or hire a real estate agent. Either of those will probably get you results. A real estate agent will definitely make selling your home easier, but that doesn't mean you can't try it yourself first!

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