Selling your home? Get the real pros and cons on using a realtor

If you're thinking about selling your home, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is whether to sell it yourself or through a realtor.

This is not a decision to take lightly. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake when you put your home up for sale, and you want to make sure you don’t make any big mistakes. Let’s look at what the pros and cons are of having a realtor sell your home.

The pros

Expertise

Sure, you can read how-to guides about selling your home and testimonials from other homeowners who have had success by passing the realtor route, but at the end of the day a realtor provides a wealth of expertise that most homeowner don’t possess. Good realtors will have access to a network of professionals and clients who can help improve the look of your house and gain access to potential buyers. A realtor will also have a real estate license for added peace of mind.

Visibility

One of the biggest advantages of hiring a realtor is the increased visibility your realty provides. If you sell your house on your own you won’t be able to list it through MLS. That’s a big disadvantage because it means your house won’t be visible to a huge number of potential homebuyers. Instead, you will have to do the marketing yourself, which will likely mean far less exposure than you would get if you had put up your home for sale through a realtor.

Presentation

A good realtor will have a network of photographers, handymen, and interior decorators at their fingertips. They know who will be able to make your home look great at the right price. If you sell your home on your own, you won’t have that level of assurance that a realtor can provide.

Negotiating

If you’ve never sold a house before then you are going to feel out of your depth when it comes to negotiating offers. A realtor will know what a fair offer is and, because the realtor gets a commission on the sale, it is in their best interests to negotiate for a higher price. If you’re negotiating on your own you might undersell yourself or, even worse, your potential buyer may have their own realtor who could push you into agreeing to a lowball offer.

The cons

Commission

When it comes to drawbacks of hiring a realtor, paying a hefty commission fee is the main one. You can expect to pay above five percent commission on the total sale price of your house. So even if the sale doesn’t turn a profit you could still be paying a large fee to your realtor.

Out of your control

Finally, while a good realtor will get you a great offer, you are ultimately at their mercy. That means that you could land a bad realtor who doesn’t make you a priority, drags out the sales process, or doesn’t negotiate effectively. Of course, the best way to avoid such a situation is to ask around for a good realtor and check for references.

All in all, there are quite a few benefits to having a realtor sell your home, but there are also a few drawbacks. When you put your home up for sale, be sure to know beforehand what the pros and cons of having a realtor are.