Why You Need a Real Estate Agent to Sell a Home

Home Selling

Why You Need a Real Estate Agent to Sell a Home

open-houseIf you want to sell a home, you may be tempted to do it yourself. The “For Sale by Owner” industry promises you’ll save money if you cut out the agent. But you’ll lose out on the expertise, experience and access that an agent provides if you go it alone. A listing agent is dedicated to selling your home quickly and for the best price – and also has tools a seller, particularly a first-time seller, does not.


The majority of real estate agents use something called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to see which homes are on the market, get details on the homes and find contact information for listing agents. If your home is not on the MLS, agents (and buyers) may have trouble finding it.

If you’re selling your home yourself and want it included on the MLS, you’ll need to pay a one-time fee for an agent to list your home for you. This agent will pass along all contact attempts. So you won’t personally be able to list the home, and you’ll have to go through a third party to receive interest.

If you don’t pay the one-time fee and don’t list on MLS, you’ll need to rely on your own advertising efforts, or on an agent or buyer finding your home on a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) website.

Reliability and Trust

If you’re selling a home yourself, some agents will be leery of working with you, and that can shrink the pool of potential buyers.

Why would a buyer’s agent be hesitant? An agent will assume (often correctly) that you have no track record and no experience selling a home. And working with anyone who’s new at anything can be challenging. In this case, it could end up being extra work for the buyer’s agent, especially if you ask for help completing your share of tasks. Also, some FSBO sellers don’t offer a commission, or only a discounted commission to the buyer’s agent. Some buyer’s agents don’t want to bother negotiating on this point.

If you choose to list with an agent who is a member of the MLS, your listing immediately gets a level of reliability and trust that comes with your agent’s licensure.


As a homeowner, it’s easy to be passionate about where you live. It’s your home, after all! But you may also see your place through rose-colored glasses. You may like the bold color scheme or custom bar in the living room, but not all buyers will have the same tastes.

An agent will help you put things in proper perspective and ensure that your home appeals to a wider range of buyers. An agent will also let you know what updates may need to be done to get top dollar for your place.

Pricing Expertise

And, of course, there’s the simple matter of pricing. Many homeowners overestimate how much they should ask for their home. They may not know the market well, and they most likely lack objectivity.

Remember, while the goal is to get the highest price possible, that’s best achieved by pricing the home right the first time – not by vastly overpricing it and slowly coming down. Redfin research indicates that a home gets more traffic during its first week on the market than any time after that; you want your home priced correctly when the most people are looking at it.

An agent will do a comparative market analysis to determine a fair price for your home – and it’s the fair price that is most likely to attract buyers.

Advocacy and Skill

Agents are expert negotiators and are experienced with real estate documents. For example, do you know what terms can be negotiated in an offer letter? What would you do if a buyer demanded a $1,000 credit based on a seemingly minor flaw that turned up in an inspection report?

If you don’t have an agent to ask, you’re either going to be asking the buyer’s agent, who doesn’t have your interests at heart, or you’re going to be stuck going with your gut – or maybe basing your decision on Internet research. None of these are optimal solutions. A listing agent will explain each situation to you and work toward a solution most favorable to your interests.

Time Savings

Having a brokerage arrange tasks associated with selling your home can be a huge time saver. For example, professional photography is always included as part of the Redfin selling service. We think it’s that valuable. And all brokerages should be able to provide you with easy, ready solutions for finding a professional photographer.

Additionally, part of a listing agent’s job is to arrange to have the home shown for you. If a potential buyer wants to tour your house while you’re at work or when you’re taking a long weekend at a friend’s cabin, your agent makes all the arrangements. If you’re listing the place yourself, this means you’re showing the home yourself. This includes coordinating times with agents and canceling personal plans on short notice to accommodate hot-on-the-trail buyers.

The Right Fit

Remember that your agent should expect to earn their commission – you should understand why you’re paying what you are for their services. Selling your home is a big decision, and an emotional one, too. Finding an agent you feel comfortable with is important. You need someone whom you trust, who has a strong track record and who has a personality you’re comfortable working with.

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