Listing Agents: Do You Need One?
Consider these points when deciding whether or not to work with a listing agent to sell your home. If you're buying a home, think about working with a buyer's agent.
If You Work with an Agent
- You sign a listing contract, which is a legally binding agreement that typically gives the agent the exclusive right to sell your property within a certain period of time (usually 60 to 90 days).
- The agent researches the market in order to determine your home's market value and reach a sales price in consultation with you.
- The agent prepares a written marketing plan that includes a schedule for listing, showing, and advertising your property.
- The agent advises you on how best to prepare your home for sale and helps arrange for pre-sale tasks such as a home inspection.
- The agent transmits any offers to you, negotiates the purchase based on your recommendations, and moves all the paperwork through the transaction.
- You pay for the listing agent's services, either as a percentage commission (usually 4 to 6 percent) or a flat fee, as specified in your listing contract. The buyer's agent is paid out of that fee.
If You Work Alone
- You are in charge of the transaction, including marketing your property, negotiating the purchase, and handling the paperwork. Educate yourself on relevant federal laws and state regulations governing real estate sales.
- You do your own market research (including possibly hiring an appraiser) to determine your home's value.
- You create your own marketing plan and decide how you will handle inquiries from prospective buyers or their agents.
- You decide how to prepare your home for sale, including arranging for pre-sale repairs, inspections, or other necessary services.
- You field all buyer inquiries, show the house yourself, handle all negotiations, and move the paperwork through the transaction.
- You pay for the buyer's agent's services, unless the buyer is also working alone or has hired the agent for a set fee. You may also pay for services you require during the transaction, such as legal advice or help negotiating the contract. Discount brokers offer individual services for flat rates.