Does It Pay to Use a Real Estate Agent

As a home seller, the real estate commissions invested in selling your home can appear substantial, especially if you don’t have a lot of equity built-up. But, is hiring a Realtor® worth it? Here are some things to consider when making that decision:

· According to statistics published by the National Association of Realtors, in 2010 a home sold through an agent sold for $215,000. The average home sold by owner (representing about 10% of sales) sold for only $150,000.

· 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts.

· According to home buyers, the two primary sources used to search for houses are the internet and real estate agents, both at more than 87%. Other sources such as signs and newspapers were at least 30 percentage points lower.

· Most online listings are populated from the multiple listing service (MLS), where only licensed real estate agents can list a home.

· Because there is no central clearinghouse for by-owner listings, a Buyer’s agent will be far less likely to find, much less show, a home sold by-owner.

· The higher the price point, the less likely a buyer is to deal directly with a seller.

· Sellers who sold their home as a FSBO reflected that the biggest challenges they faced were getting the right price, understanding and performing the paperwork, and dedicating enough time to all aspects of the sale.

So what are the benefits of using a REALTOR®?

· Your real estate commission includes all the marketing of your home listing photos, virtual tours, flyers, listing syndication, appearances in local housing publications, Open House marketing, direct mail advertising, and agent-to-agent advertising.

· Real estate agents have access to up-to-the-minute pricing information not readily available to the public to help you make an informed pricing decision.

· A real estate agent will represent you in pricing and contract negotiations, help you weed out weak offers, and protect your interests, especially against scam artists and criminals who prey on home sellers.

· A licensed REALTOR® will help navigate the maze of paperwork including appraisals, inspections, title insurance, settlement services, surveys, and financing. This helps get you to closing on time.

As with hiring an attorney to represent your legal interests in a court proceeding, you should always ask yourself, “What will it cost me to NOT use a REALTOR®?”

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