According to a recent article from Money magazine, there’s a reason nearly 90 percent of sellers use a listing agent: Selling a home takes time, knowledge of neighborhood trends and negotiating skills. So while eliminating the agent’s commission—6 percent of the sale price, on average—sounds mighty tempting, try to resist.
The agent’s chief tasks are to help set the right price and then get buyers in the door. Agents have access to the most up-to-date information about recent sales of comparable homes and competing listings in your neighborhood.
A good agent also will market a home aggressively. That means recommending staging techniques to make the place look great, maximizing the listing with professional-quality photographs and showing the house to prospective buyers. Top agents will also have access to extensive advertising platforms, print and digital, along with an expansive network of potential buyers. Most important, the agent will vet potential buyers so the homeowners can deal only with serious prospects.
Once a buyer is found, the agent will negotiate counter-offers, track the paperwork, deal with inspections and appraisals and generally hand-hold through the most nerve-racking part of the process.
When considering selling a home, owners need to think hard about the time and effort they want to spend, particularly if the process drags on. The average home takes about four months to sell (six in the slowest cities), according to National Association of Realtor statistics. If costs are a concern, the owners should feel comfortable having a frank, up-front conversation about how and how much the agent expects to be paid.
Once an agent is found whom the owners feel comfortable with, they can sign a contract and let the agent get to work. If the home is properly priced and properly marketed, they will be reaching the most serious buyers in the few weeks of listing.
President and CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information see briggsfreeman.com.