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The real estate market is very active and, according to statistics, it’s a seller’s market. If you’re a potential seller, you are most likely asking yourself if you need to get a real estate agent involved in the process of selling your home.

In 2016, “For Sale by Owners” (or FSBOs) accounted for 8% of home sales, compared to 21% in 1981. Even today, when home owners have far better access to relevant housing information from sites like Zillow and Trulia, they are finding it difficult to sell on their own. Why?

Though some sellers are prepared to sell their own home, the majority are not up to the task. Successfully selling a property requires time, knowledge of market value and trends, the ability to negotiate well, an understanding of the required legal documents and knowledge and patience to manage the sales process right up to closing.

Time

No law requires you to use a real estate agent, but before you decide to go it alone, consider your schedule and the time you will need to be successful. If you have a full time job, it will be difficult to run home every day to deal with the task of selling your house (taking calls, scheduling showings, keeping the house clean, follow-up with potential buyers, qualifying buyers, negotiating, inspections, and preparing the required documents).

Setting a Price

Most people selling their own home will price it based on an emotion rather than on market data. If priced too high, time and money are lost… and so is the potential buyer! When a house sits too long on the market, a buyer may often assume there is something wrong with the property and will ultimately skip over the listing, never taking the time to consider it as a serious option. On the flip side, as a home seller, you certainly don’t want to leave value on the table. A professional real estate agent will have the best information available to them with respect to market research and can recommend the best price to the get the most value out of your home.

Negotiating

This is one of the major reasons for hiring a real estate agent. Agents have the expertise to prepare a killer deal while avoiding delays or costly mistakes. They will continue negotiating during the home inspections and appraisal processes. This is a valuable skill often overlooked by sellers.

Marketing

The marketing of your house will greatly impact its selling price. A seller gets one chance to impress the buyers. A good agent will aggressively market your home by recommending staging and select improvements to make it stand out and enhance its appeal. A real estate agent can also reach many more potential buyers than the home owner whose main business is not that of selling houses. This home owner can capture the local market with yard signs and local newspaper ads, but the professional realtor can and will attract a targeted market on a global level. There is strength in numbers and an aggressive, broad marketing plan makes for a quicker sale, often for a higher price.

Legal

If you’re going to go it alone, you will need to learn the legal rules that govern real estate transfers in your state. Real estate law changes constantly and quickly. The paperwork has greatly increased due to mandatory disclosures and regulations. This is one of the reasons for the decline in FSBO sales. An experienced real estate agent deals with real estate contracts every day, is familiar with current and relative real estate laws, and can offer valuable guidance throughout the transaction.

In the end

Selling your home will likely be one of the biggest transactions of your life. You can try to go it alone to save money, but hiring a real estate agent has many advantages. A real estate agent will guide you step by step, negotiate on your behalf, help you understand each party’s obligations, and manage the process by making sure all details of the transaction are met in the required time frame right up to closing.

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