According to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, a whopping 89 percent of sellers list their home with a real estate agent. The sellers surveyed listed trustworthiness, responsiveness, local market knowledge, a good reputation in the community, and a strong sales track record as the most important attributes in a top-notch agent.
A great real estate agent can make a huge difference in many aspects of your selling experience, from your stress level to your profits. Read on to explore the many benefits of selling with a local agent, and discover what it will cost you.
What is the standard commission for a real estate agent?
Real estate agents work on a commission basis, making a percentage of the sale or purchase price of the home their client is buying or selling. Typically, as a seller, you’ll pay 6 percent of the sale price, with half of the total serving as the buyer’s agent’s commission.
Keep in mind that the commission is always negotiable up front, depending on local market factors or your own situation. For example, if you’re going to be using the same agent to help you sell your house and also to buy your new home, you may be able to negotiate a lower rate since they’ll be getting two commissions.
What is the difference between a listing agent and a buyers agent?
The listing agent, also known as a sellers agent, works for the seller to help them sell their house, from listing to closing. The buyers agent works for the buyer, guiding them through the process of finding a home they love, into negotiations, and all the way through closing.
Benefits of using a listing agent
You might ask yourself, “Why use a real estate agent to sell my home?” There are a number of services and plenty of expertise a real estate agent can provide, so it’s important for each seller to take a look at the list of benefits and decide if an agent is worth the expense.
1. Real estate agents provide local housing market expertise
- They have access to a comprehensive list of comparable homes and understand the value of homes in your area.
- Taking into consideration the current market conditions, they can strategize ways to craft the optimal selling approach, with the goal of earning the highest possible return on your home.
- They can guide you to setting the right price for your home, one that will allow you to both pocket as much money as you can while selling in a timely manner.
- They understand local housing codes and can point out any red flags on your property that buyers (and their home inspectors) will find.
- They can recommend the specific home improvements that matter most to buyers in your area.
2. Real estate agents market your listing
- They can provide recommendations for staging your home.
- They can hire a professional photographer to take great listing photos.
- Creating an enticing listing description of a property is an art form, and a skilled agent can call out features local buyers are looking for.
- They list your property on the MLS and online real estate sites like Zillow. In fact, agents have access to more listing outlets than sellers who are listing on their own.
- They host open houses and showings, physically showing your home to buyers.
- They serve as a buffer between you and all potential buyers, fielding calls, answering questions, and scheduling showings.
3. Real estate agents network with other agents to increase buyer interest
- They may show your home to an agent-only crowd to increase buzz.
- They talk to other agents about your home, positioning it as a match for their buyers.
- Homes sold by agents are typically more appealing to buyers agents, as they know they’ll get a commission on the sale.
4. Real estate agents handle your negotiations
- They vet all potential buyers, identifying the serious offers.
- They skillfully work with the buyer’s agent to get you an offer that meets your needs in terms of price, timing, and repairs.
- They help you make smart decisions on negotiating counteroffers.
5. Real estate agents ease the selling process
- Selling a home comes with a lot of paperwork, and your real estate agent will handle it all.
- Professional real estate agents keep an eye out for deal loopholes and unusual requests, and read all the fine print.
- In a multiple-offer situation, they’ll help you identify the pros and cons of each offer, making your decision easier.
- They’ll recommend when you should counteroffer and when you should accept the deal.