WHY USE A
A realtor has what's called a fiduciary duty to the client.
Put in simple terms: A realtor is bound by law to act in a seller’s best interest. If for some reason they do not, a seller has recourse in court.
The multiple listing service (MLS) is the holy grail of home listings. For us, our MLS is HAR.com. Once in the MLS, a home is sent out to hundreds online sites and into both buyers' and agents' hands, so your home can always be in front of people searching for their next home.
You must be a licensed realtor to list a home in the MLS. So, when you list as for sale by owner, or FSBO, you’ll have to shell out a flat fee or commission to a broker to have access. The fee cuts into that money you were trying to save by not using a realtor.
The No. 1 reason people choose to sell their home themselves is to save money on commission. There’s a problem though: Statistics say you won’t. The typical FSBO home sold for $210,000, compared to $249,000 for agent-assisted home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The ‘A list’ buyers are in town for the weekend or for a few days to buy a house, or they’re under contract to sell their home and they’ve got to find one ASAP. They’re usually not going to buy a "for sale by owner", and those are typically the highest paying buyers.
Many real estate agents work with both buyers and sellers, and so they have access to high-quality home-seekers on the other side of the equation who may be the perfect fit for your home.
A study by the National Association of Realtors shows that 82% of homes are sold via realtor contacts—i.e. prior clients, referrals, friends, and family.
It’s not just buyers in agents’ contact lists; they also have a laundry list of skilled professionals at your disposal. Top Maryland agent Fleishman can’t even count the number of times her contacts have come through to help her sellers in a bind.
“I had a seller who had a termite issue, and we didn’t find out until 2 days before closing. [The seller] called some people, but they couldn’t come out or wanted to charge an arm and a leg, I called my guy and he came over and he got the job done. So we got the deal to close just because I had somebody who I give a lot of work to and, when I need a favor, will drop everything and help me out.” She also remembers a night when a lawyer contact handled a last-minute title issue at 11:30 p.m., when the seller’s lawyer couldn’t get to the bottom of it.
One glance at the 15-plus-page state contracts, plus their addendums and disclosures, should send more people scrambling to a real estate agent to close on a home. That’s just one technical form sellers have to complete in the process, which are time-consuming and can be confusing.
All this paperwork can add up to mistakes. Mistakes can be costly, not just in terms of dollar value but in the law. With a realtor, any of these types of mistakes pass the repercussions off to the agent, not the seller.
Selling a home is a full-time job. You have to host open houses, prep for last-minute showings, vet a slew of interested people to find actual potential buyers, complete the seemingly endless paperwork, market a home, and do all the smaller day-to-day tasks that keep your home presentable. It’s exhausting.
For most people, they already have a full-time job. For agents, this is it. “You don’t realize how hard it is to sell a house until you try to do it."
You won’t sell a home by merely listing it on websites and waiting for offers to come flooding in. They won’t. That’s where marketing comes in. There’s a difference between marketing a home and selling a home, The way you get top dollar is to market a home.
Marketing is about getting exposure in the best places. A real estate agent knows what listings buyers will be attracted to, gets the listing on the best websites, recognizes and highlights a home’s stand-out qualities, positions home showings in the best light, and networks regularly about the house. It’s a consuming process that is a full time job.
Agents are generally paid in a split commission deal: The sellers typically pay 6% of the selling price as commission to the listing agent, and the listing agent splits the money with the buyer’s agent.
For a $250,000 home, at 6% commission would be $15,000. Don’t put all that money in the bank just yet, though. Most FSBO who look to save money forget about paying the buyer's agent so typically half ($7,500) of that will go to the agent who found a buyer for your house. Naturally a buyer’s agent won't make your listing a top priority if you don’t offer that agent a commission.