Wondering why use a real estate agent when you can do it all by yourself? Surely going the For Sale by Owner (FSBO) route can save you big – right? You can maximize profits by not having to pay a real estate agent commission, and, surely, selling your home on your own schedule will be easier. You could see the merit in the question of “why use a real estate agent” before the internet was invented; but nowadays?! The world is at your fingertips! You have access to every potential home buyer instead of just the ones your agent knows. In no time, you’ll be rolling in dough thanks to your shrewdness and skills.
Except you won’t.
While FSBO may seem like a good idea, we have a number of reasons to give to those wondering why use a real estate agent when selling or buying your home. Sticking with DIY for things like small home repairs and crocheting Christmas gifts is best; leave the real estate game to the professionals. They can help you:
Experience. Do you think anyone can start doing whatever it is you do as good as you do in a matter of weeks? One of the best benefits of hiring a real estate agent is their experience. Doesn’t matter if this is not your first rodeo: the number of real estate transactions you do in your lifetime, good agents do within a month.
Price the home correctly. The top mistake home sellers doing a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) make is pricing their property incorrectly. They either price it too high or way too low. Pricing it above its true fair market value resulting in a stale listing, and pricing it below will mean that you will lose money. An experienced agent will know the current market and can price you high enough for wiggle room without discouraging potential home buyers. Ain’t that one of the greatest benefits of hiring a real estate agent?
Time is money. Let's not forget the saying “time is money”; in real estate this is almost literal. If you’re too slow to sell your home, the market can change its course and lower its prices. An experienced real estate agent will know how to forecast big changes and hold or push the negotiations so you and him can get the most out of the deals. Plus: you think you have the time to stop your life and live the life of a real estate agent and learn all the tricks they’ve mastered through their whole career in – if you’re lucky - 6 months? Not likely. You can’t do this in your off-work hours, believe us. Commitment is key. Having someone taking care of everything while you continue your life is a big factor those asking themselves why use a real estate agent should consider.
Negotiate with a strong standing. Selling your home is a major business transaction, and there are three stages at which you can expect negotiation and pushback.
You need a skilled and objective negotiator on your side during these discussions, and an agent can play the “bad cop” for you to keep everything on your end pleasant and enjoyable. The reduction of stress alone is one of the top 5 benefits of hiring a real estate agent, if you ask us…
Gaining exposure for your home. You want the absolute maximum exposure possible for your home, right? That’s how you get a sale; showing the property to the maximum amount of people you can access. Doing that increases your chances of finding one that’s going to buy. And that’s a big reason why one should use a real estate agent. An agent has the networking skills and contacts to get this job done, as well as the time and motivation to prepare marketing materials that appeal to the audience that’s most likely to buy your specific home – there’s no use trying to sell someone on the fascinating trend of tiny homes when they are luxury real estate owners, right? – host open houses, reach out to other agents who may have interested parties and many more time-consuming things agents normally do.
The dollars you expect to save on commissions aren’t really all that many when you consider the average cost of a home and the 3% commission compared to the selling price. An experienced agent brings expertise in pricing, negotiating skills, and market access to the table; something a homeowner can’t hope to match. In fact, statistically For Sale By Owner (FSBO) homes stay on the market longer (costing owners more every month they linger) and eventually sell for less overall and almost never for asking price in the end.
Maybe you’re worrying too much about this because you have an impression that the agent is making a lot of money on your expense. But that’s not true: you’re the one who’s making money because of him/her. Let’s take a look at a scenario for you to see how much does a real estate agent make and how much YOU make when you team up with one:
If you sell your $150,000 home for $140,000 and save the $4,500 commission, you’ve actually lost a potential $5,500 at least! Why use a real estate agent? An experienced one might have been able to get potential home buyers bidding against each other and sold your home for $160,000, taking home $4,800 in commission and netting you a tidy $9,520 in extra profit!
So you tell us: why use a real estate agent?