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Should You Sell Your House With a Real Estate Agent?
Are you thinking about selling your house in Washington, DC, Maryland or Virginia? Selling a house can seem very complicated, which is why many people trust a real estate agent to help them. There are many ways to sell a house – sometimes with an agent and sometimes without. Some people prefer to sell on their own or sell directly to a house-buying company like Express Homebuyers. But, if you’re thinking about selling your house, here are few reasons you might want to hire a real estate agent to help you sell your home in the DMV.
Listing with an Agent
Selling your house can seem like a daunting task, which is why many people turn to a real estate agent to help them. If you sell your house with a real estate agent, you gain a few advantages. It’s not right for everyone or every house selling situation, but it’s at least worth looking into before you decide one way or the other. First, it’s very hands-off. You can go about your regular life and simply sign papers and talk to your agent while they do all the legwork. Some folks who choose to sell their house themselves (called “For Sale By Owner” or FSBO) find out pretty quickly that selling this way can be very busy. You’ll end up marketing your house all over town, scheduling buyers to walk through the house, and negotiating on the fly – all while trying to juggle your regular life. A real estate agent makes it simple and hands-off for you. One of the biggest reasons why people choose to sell with the help of an agent (versus selling on their own) is the potential for getting a higher price. In theory, agents are expert negotiators who can figure out the best price to sell the house for and then can negotiate on your behalf to get the buyer to pay as much as possible. Selling without an agent may not result in as much money. (However, there are other reasons why people may not use an agent.) An agent often has a list of potential buyers (or access to a list) so they may be able to find people to buy from you quickly. Maybe you want to sell and you don’t like the thought of your home being renovated and rented out or, even torn down. After all, you have a lot of emotional attachment to your house. Some people don’t care what happens to a house after they sell it, but if you’d prefer to sell to a homeowner (versus an investor), then selling through an agent will increase the likelihood of that happening. Real estate agents have many tricks up their sleeves to help you sell – from special signs to open houses, etc. You can save money and time versus selling on your own, because you won’t have to market your property or pay for marketing materials. By working with a real estate agent, you don’t have to negotiate directly with potential buyers. Since many people do not like the negotiation process, you can let the agent handle that part for you. Your real estate agent is the expert and will walk you through what you need to know. Selling a house can be complicated. You’ve got to deal with buyers, banks, and attorneys. There are contracts and clauses and negotiations. Sometimes it’s difficult to know in what order to do things. When you sell your house with a real estate agent, an agent can help simplify the process because that’s what they do! They help people buy and sell houses for a living. They have the contracts and agreements and know their way around them. Your agent already knows what you need to do and will tell you when you need to do it. You don’t have to be an expert at the contracts and agreements involved in the house-selling process. You don’t have to be an expert in the laws of selling a house or financing either, all of which can be quite complicated. Your agent will either take care of that for you or guide you appropriately.
How to Find the Right Real Estate Agent Who Fits Your Needs
Once you decide selling your house with a real estate agent is the right way to go, you need to choose one you like, someone who will do a good job and work on your behalf to help sell your house. After all, a real estate agent’s job is to work on your behalf to help you sell your house! There are many agents working in the Washington, DC metro area who claim to be the very best. It’s hard to know which one’s the right one for you. Here are our recommendations on how to find the right real estate agent for your needs.
Talk to your friends, family, colleagues and trusted advisers to find out which agents have good reputations. Some people will tell you not to work with one agent, while others will have great things to say about someone else. Ask everyone you know. You can even reach out to us at (877) 804-5252 and ask for a recommendation (we work with some of the top agents in the entire country). Then put together a short list of agents to research.
Look Up the Agents
Go online and look up those real estate agents you’ve gotten as recommendations. Do they have a website? Do they have a Facebook page? Search their name in Google.
Check Out Their Credentials
Look at their website and Facebook pages. What does each say about them? What kind of ratings do they have? What do their testimonials say? What awards have they won? How many transactions have they completed?
Review and Narrow
Review your findings and narrow down your list to two or three who look like they’ll be able to help you the best.
Book an Appointment
Call your top choices to book an appointment. When you meet with them, ask for details on how they’d help you sell your house.
Make a Choice
Finally, choose the agent you feel is the best match for you, based on all of this information. Then start the process of selling your house! Clearly, finding a qualified agent can take some time, but if selling your house seems like more hassle than you want to deal with yourself, deciding to sell your house with a real estate agent is one way to ease the burden.
But, Be Aware
Once you’ve decided a real estate agent is the way for you to go, when selling your house, and you’ve chosen the right one for your circumstances, it’s important to set your expectations of working together realistically. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
What to Expect When Selling with an Agent
A real estate agent is a professional who performs a service for your benefit. This understanding shouldn’t come as a surprise, yet many people are caught off guard when they learn that agents charge a commission for their services. This commission can be thousands of dollars in some situations! For some people, that’s okay because they want the benefits an agent provides, but not having this knowledge upfront can come as a shock if you’re not prepared.
You probably want to sell your house as quickly as possible. An agent wants that too. However, an agent is at the mercy of what buyers want. Agents will work diligently to find a buyer for your house, but they can’t always guarantee your house will sell within a certain time frame. If you need certainty, the fastest way to sell is to skip an agent and just let us buy your house directly. Call us at (877) 804-5252 to learn more about how we can help.
In order for agents to find a buyer who wants to buy your house, they have to show it to people. Buyers will obviously want to walk through the house and see for themselves if it’s the right house for them. Therefore, if you make the choice to sell your house with a real estate agent, you should expect that agent to arrange showings with buyers. You will oftentimes need to leave your house on short notice while buyers walk through it.
Agents provide a great service, but the truth is agents can’t control the process. There are many unknown factors that will influence the sale of your house. These unknowns include: the number of other sellers selling similar houses, the number of buyers who want to buy, the number of banks willing to lend money for mortgages, the state of the economy in the city, the state and in the country as a whole. So you may want to sell right now at a certain price, and the agent will do his best, but you may be forced to sell later at a lower price. It’s important to do your due diligence and get all the facts, so you don’t end up with regrets down the road. If you decide hiring a real estate agent is more work or more expensive than you expected, consider these two additional options.
FSBO means “For Sale By Owner.” When you take this route, you’re selling on the market (the same place an agent would sell) without an agent. You represent yourself. The advantages to selling this way are you can name your own price, find your own buyers, negotiate on your own behalf (if you like to do that), and not pay the real estate agent’s commission at the end. A typical real estate agent commission is 6% of the sale price. If you sell your house for $150,000 through an agent, you’ll owe the agent $9,000. If your house sells for $500,000 the agent gets $30,000. By selling your house as a FSBO property, you get to keep that money instead of paying it to a real estate agent. That is if you find the buyer on your own. It is nearly impossible to find a buyer on your own. Some 80%+ of people who try to sell FSBO end up selling through a Realtor. The more likely scenario is that you pay a flat fee – $99-$499 to list your house on the multiple listing service. This will push out your home to the world wide web and get buyers looking. In most cases a realtor will bring you a buyer. In that case, you will have to pay the agent that brought the buyer 2.5-3%. So on a $500,000 sale you could potentially save up to $15,000.
Selling to an Investor
If you want to sell fast and not pay any fees, or if you have a house in as-is condition (needs a lot of work) that you don’t want to pay to fix and clean first, consider selling to an investor or professional house buyer such as Express Homebuyers. Most investors buy houses in as-is condition, which means you can save money, time and hassle by skipping the renovations. Plus, when you sell to a real estate investor, you don’t have to wait months for the right home buyer to find your house. You don’t have to wait weeks or months for your buyers’ lender to approve financing. Investors can close fast – often in as a few as seven days if you have clear title. So you can sell quickly! When you’re thinking about selling your house it’s smart to explore all the routes to a sale. For a fast, no-obligation cash offer on your house from Express Homebuyers, call us today at (877) 804-5252.