Five reasons why homeowners are better off selling their property with an agent:
1. Employ an expert: A typical property owner does not have anywhere near the
home-selling experience of a real-estate agent. Agents can recommend relatively
simple improvements — painting, repairing, decluttering — that can help a home
sell faster and for a better price. “The Realtor is the neighborhood expert,”
Moore says. “We can walk through a property and see right away what needs to be
done to [get the home sold].” Independent sellers might not be aware of these
tricks of the trade.
2. Use better tools: Homeowners using agents can get their property listed on
Realtor.com, “which has more far-reaching access to market that property — with
over 3 million properties on it — than the for-sale-by-owner sites, which have
tens of thousands,” Moore says. Independent sellers do not have access to this
service. (Realtor.com is an MSN Real Estate partner.)
3. Sidestep lawsuits: Agents can also protect sellers from potential litigation.
“There are all kinds of liability issues that a seller could potentially face
when … dealing one-on-one with a buyer,” Moore says. A homeowner could, for
example, tell a potential buyer that hardwood floors extend to all corners of
the house underneath the wall-to-wall carpeting. But if even one room has
concrete flooring, the homeowner could be sued, Moore says. Agents, who have
experience dealing with these liability issues, can help homeowners dodge such
What’s your home worth?
4. Duck the riffraff: Independent sellers might not have any idea whom they are
letting into their homes during open houses. These potential buyers might not
have the credit to make the purchase — and would therefore be wasting the
homeowner’s time — or could even “try to rob them later on,” Moore says. “It’s a
very scary kind of thing.” She says that homeowners working with agents will
have qualified buyers visiting their properties.
5. Avoid hardball tactics: It’s a buyer’s market out there. And with all the
information available online, today’s well-informed buyers are tough
negotiators. Real-estate agents have been through the home-selling process
before and are trained in negotiating tactics, giving them a potential edge in
hammering out a deal in the seller’s best interest. “It’s hard to do that with
your own property, particularly if you are not a professional,” Moore says.
Judy Moore of Re/Max Landmark Realtors in Lexington, Mass., says that today’s
topsy-turvy housing market is just too treacherous to go it alone.
By Luke Mullins, U.S. News & World Report`