There are a lot of “self-help” articles on the internet, which suggest that you don’t need an agent to sell your house. The premise of most of these articles is simple, why miss out on 6% of the sale price (the combined rate of both sides’ agents) when you could do their job yourself. This line of reasoning fails to see the forest through the trees for two reasons. First, it is unlikely that the prospective seller knows the true work that goes into selling a home. Second, and a natural corollary to the first reason, the agent’s hard work increases the value of your home beyond simply letting the world know your home is for sale. The total increase in home value and quality-of-life, when selling through an agent, significantly offsets the “5%” that self-help articles like to attack. Ultimately, there is a reason approximately 90% of home sellers utilize the services of real estate agents; selling a home takes knowledge of neighborhood trends, negotiation skills, and an inordinate amount of time.
Your agent’s primary tasks include assistance in identifying the appropriate price for your home and bringing prospective buyers through the front door to experience the full value of your home.
To perform their primary tasks, your agent must access the most current information relating to comparable sales (sales of homes like yours), as well as other listings in your area that might act as competition (similar homes for sale that may dictate the appropriate price you can list your home for). You might think, “hey, anybody can do this.” That would be true if your agent weren’t required to stay current on that information at all points in the day; the housing market is a lot like any other market – it changes on a regular basis. Knowing how to value your home is not the only value an agent brings to the home selling business; they will also generate interest in your home.
In addition to research, a strong agent will aggressively advertise your home. As a basic principle of economics, the value of an item is a derivative of the equilibrium. The equilibrium, in turn, is determined by supply and demand (this is intentionally simplified, in case there are any economists reading this article). We know that the supply of your home is one, which leads to only one conclusion; the more people who are interested in your home (higher demand), the higher the equilibrium (proper price) of your home. Agents have developed an expertise in generating demand for your home, which ultimately means a higher selling point.
If it isn’t clear by now, “save the 6% commission by selling your home yourself” is a little misleading. Assuming that simplistic statement was true, it would have to read “save the 6% commission by taking on another full-time job to sell your home.” However, that simple statement is not true. A skilled agent will increase the value of your home, and save you time and stress. While not always the case, the home seller who utilizes a skilled agent will ultimately receive a greater net payment than they would have received if they had done it themselves.