"For Sale by Owner" sign outside a home

For Sale by Owner vs Real Estate Agent—What’s the Difference?

Home Selling Tips

If you are hoping to sell your home, there are a lot of decisions you have to make before you even put that “for sale” sign in the yard. One of the first and most important decisions you will make will be your choice of real estate agent. Some people try skipping the agent and selling independently, listing it as a “for sale by owner” or FSBO property. If that’s the case for you, there are many things to consider. Knowing what role a real estate agent plays and knowing what playing that role yourself means are both necessary in making the best decision for your situation. Selling a home is a big deal, so you want to make the most informed decisions possible so you do not end up leaving any money on the table.

What Does a Real Estate Agent Do?

A good real estate agent will be trained in the many aspects of home buying and selling. Some of their many skills and roles include:

  • Drawing up legal paperwork
  • Knowing how and when to submit and file that paperwork
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Understanding the local real estate market
  • Knowing future development plans for your community
  • Having the inside scoop on loan options
  • understanding the various city requirements and inspections needed
  • A running contact list of quality inspectors and contractors
  • An eye for interior design for staging
  • And of course, that personable touch that every good sales person needs to have.

Selling real estate is no walk in the park. With the long list of skills and responsibilities a real estate agent has in the selling process, you definitely want to weigh the pros and cons of working with one.

Going the “For Sale By Owner” Route

There are some benefits of not using a real estate agent if you have the experience and working knowledge to effectively do the work on your own. The biggest benefit is you won’t lose that half of the sales commission when the property does sell. Typically, 6% of the selling price is split between the selling and buying real estate agents, so you have a chance of keeping that in your pocket. However, you should consider that a really good real estate agent will be able to get you the best offer possible by combining his or her working knowledge of the market and strategic staging techniques. So, you might end up still getting more from your sale with a real estate agent even while paying that commission.

Another benefit of not using a real estate agent is having complete freedom and autonomy in your schedule. You schedule the open houses, you host the walk throughs, and you don’t have to work around anyone’s availability. For some, this is very valuable. However, if time is a big factor, you should also consider the amount of work a real estate agent does and has already done behind the scenes so you do not have to. It’s their job to know the things you will need to research, so that might actually free up your valuable time more in the end as well.

Which Is Right for You?

While no one can make the best decision for you, it is important that you consider all the options so that your selling experience is as painless and as profitable as possible. Reach out to people who have sold their own homes without an agent to gain insight on their experience. And as always, before you do hire a real estate agent, be sure to get references and conduct some interviews so you choose someone effective who you are comfortable with.

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