Should You Sell on Your Own or Go With an Agent?
When you are looking into selling your house, you have a couple of choices on how to do that. You can try to do a for sale by owner, where you act as your own real estate agent. Or, you can go the more traditional route and hire a real estate agent. There are pros and cons to each method, and you should consider and weigh them before making a decision.
The biggest advantage to going the for sale by owner route is saving money. The standard real estate commission for a sale is 6 to 7%, depending on where you live. That commission usually is split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent, but the home seller pays the whole amount. Even on a modest $200,000 home, that can add up to $12,000-$14,000 right off the top of the potential profit. By selling a house on your own, you can add some or all of that money back to what you earn.
There are some drawbacks when you try to sell a house for sale by owner, however. One of the biggest is that it can be hard to get the house seen. Local multiple listing services often won’t take for sale by owner listings, which leaves you looking to other options to get the word out about your home. The internet has made things easier for people selling their own homes, and when you post to sites, be it for sale by owner websites or social media, you have to make sure you have lots of good photos. Research shows that online real estate listings with at least six photos are twice as likely to be seen by potential buyers.
Something that is an advantage if you go with a real estate agent is having that person’s expertise and experience. Real estate agents know the markets and they know how to get homes sold quickly and for the most money. A real estate agent will know what kind of improvements your home needs to make it more attractive. For example, something as simple as sprucing up your landscape can boost the price your home sells for from 5 to 15%, and you usually get a return of 100% or more of what you spend on landscape improvements.
When selling a home, you have to look at what your goals are. If the market is hot and you want to squeeze every penny out of your home, then selling it on your own may make sense. In a strong market, for sale by owner properties tend to do about as well as those represented by an agent. However, if the market isn’t so hot and you have a specific time frame in which you need to get the home sold, then it can be worth it to work with an agent. Research shows that homes tend to sell faster and for more money, especially in a down market, when they are marketed by a real estate agent.