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Is it worth selling your house with the help of a real estate agent?

Thinking about selling your house alone, without the help of a real estate agent? You’re not the only one. There is even a word for it: FSBO, standing for “For Sale By Owner”.

However in countries where official statistics exist on this matter, such as the United States, FSBO represents only 7% of all home sales. So, should you try to sell your house alone to “save money”? Or should you use the help of a real estate agent?

There is a lot more that goes into selling a house that homeowners may have considered. Selling a home is not as straightforward as many think and more often than not selling solo ends up being a false economy. From sourcing the correct target buyer to good negotiation tactics, there are many factors to take into account.

Here are our top five.

Five Factors Influencing Why You Should Sell Alone, Or Use A Real Estate Agent To Help

 1. Time and stress

Moving home is often cited alongside divorce and the death of a loved one as one of life’s most stressful experiences. Selling your home can be equally as stressful, if not more so. Dealing with potential buyers, lawyers, surveyors who all want to get the best price from you, can take its toll on your nerves. What is more, selling a property can become a full time job – there are photos to be taken, advertising to think about, calls from interested buyers and lawyers as well as numerous other time-consuming elements. If you are already in full time employment, then the time and stress involved may become overwhelming.

A real estate agency’s job is to deal with all of these things.

Real estate agents are not too busy to call back interested buyers or find the most appropriate places to advertise. They will also ensure that those buyers who have expressed an interest are actually qualified.

A real estate agency can make the sales process as smooth as possible and try to involve the seller only when necessary. If you are already busy with work and life, then this will be one less thing to think about.

2. Experience

Markets fluctuate and trends change. Buyers can also be demanding. Real estate agents can navigate all these things and take on challenges that may come their way, thanks to their in-depth knowledge and experience in the sector. They are the ones who know specific details and can handle most scenarios, from complex rules and regulations to targeting the right buyers. They have trained for the job and, in some cases, passed exams to ensure they do the job properly. Your end goal is to get your property sold – exactly the same goal as your agent – so you are both on the same side. A real estate agent just knows how to sell faster and better.

3. Sell at the right price

Pricing your home can often be difficult to emotionally detach yourself from. Most homeowners are (rightly) proud of their property, especially if they have put in a lot of work renovating and maintaining the property over the years. That specific aspect can be hard to keep out of your mind whilst coming up with a selling price by yourself.

Real estate agents know the local neighbourhood, the market conditions and, most importantly, comparable property prices. They will take into account these three key factors, along with the aesthetic appeal of your home to make sure that they price your home correctly. Often they will offer valuation documents to back up their advice. If there is a discrepancy in what you believe your home is worth and what the real estate agent thinks is achievable, then this is something you can talk about – there might be issues you are not aware of or indeed, there might be something the agent has not taken into consideration.

You still have the final say. A real estate agent cannot insist that you list your home at a certain price but their experience and knowledge should not be underestimated and an agreeable price can be reached between the two of you.

4. Advertising and photography

Knowing how and where to target your buyer is not simply a case of placing an advert in a local newspaper or putting up a banner in the window of your house with a contact number. Targeting the right buyer is down to the expertise of estate agents who have had years of experience knowing which specific buyers would be the most likely ones to show an interest in your home. Agencies spend a lot of money using offline and online marketing techniques carefully created to match the right buyer and seller. They will know which nationality to target, age group, the best professional and personal profile etc and they will market the property accordingly, whether it be in brochures, property supplements, property portals , social media, partner websites and/or at trade fairs. They may also be able to create some PR for your property via editorials and also, don’t forget that your home will be showcased in an agent’s website which can attract thousands of visitors every day. Agencies will also be able to take professional pictures and advise about how to stage your home for the shoot.

5. Negotiations and legal jargon

As previously mentioned, selling your home can be emotional, especially if it is somewhere you have lived in for many years. If you have put time and energy into your home, the emotional attachment is that much greater.

An agent, however, does not have any emotional attachment. They see the sale as a purely business transaction and can be totally objective. The agent’s main aim is to sell the property. If there is a need to negotiate on the sales price (as there often is), an agent will not have any emotional ties that possibly could prevent a deal from moving forward. They are also able to ensure that a homeowner gets as close to the asking price as possible, by using the market information and comparable sales as back-up.

Closing paperwork involved in a real estate transaction can also be complex. There are many regulations that have to be carefully looked at and legal pitfalls to avoid. In some cases, there may be a last-minute problem which an experienced real estate agent is able to smooth over. They may also have good relationships with legal representatives and that will also help any potential sticking points.

In conclusion, hiring a real estate agent to sell your home is likely to take a lot of stress and time off your shoulders, it will help get you closer to the asking price and will get your home listed and sold more quickly .

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