It’s a question as old as the real estate business. But it’s not asked as often as you might think, because most people do use a real estate agent. In fact, a study conducted in 2018(Opens in a new window) found that 90% of consumers use an agent when selling or buying a home. And we’re not surprised, as we would encourage most people to put an agent to work for them through what is often a time-consuming and complicated process.
However, buying or selling a home is not impossible on your own – and may make more sense, depending on your situation. But there are some definite considerations you will want to bear in mind before taking that leap, which we will go over later.”
With that being said, if you’re thinking about going it on your own, or you’ve always wondered what the pros and cons are of using an agent, we’ve got you covered in this article.
There are so many we don’t know where to start. But the biggest one is likely this: having access to the Multiple Listing Service, aka the MLS. This is an online directory to which only agents and brokers have access. It’s a giant list of verified listings and includes nearly every home that is on the market. Having your home listed on the MLS means there are far more people that will see it. And if you are searching for a home, having access to the MLS means you won’t run into some of the uncertain listings typically found on free websites.
Another advantage is that an agent has extensive knowledge and experience with the entire process. They’re prepared to help you negotiate and better understand how to accept or submit an offer, along with all of the necessary paperwork. Plus, they’ll also be able to guide you through the closing process, which can be a beast of its own.
Agents also have more insights into the market itself. Meaning, their knowledge of comps and the latest trends puts them in a position to help you get the most money out of your purchase or sale. And when it comes to showing your home to prospective buyers, they’ll handle all of the details for you – which is especially helpful if you’re planning on being out of town while your home is being shown.
For starters, you won’t have any of the advantages discussed above. But frankly, one of the biggest disadvantages of not using an agent is the time you’ll need to commit to buying or selling your home. This is especially true when selling, as you’ll have to put all of the work in to posting online or wherever you decide to list your home. Also, you will not be able to list on the MLS, which will significantly reduce your exposure to potential buyers.
We just said this, but we’re going to emphasize it again: Time. You’re going to have to spend a lot of time working to try and sell your home without an agent. Buyers rarely buy a home sight unseen. So, you’ll stay busy fielding phone calls and emails at all hours of the day and night to schedule viewings and answer any questions interested buyers have about your property. This typically becomes a very disruptive and potentially frustrating influence on your personal time.
Some other disadvantages you may experience could involve a lack of knowledge of home selling best practices that an agent will know, such as the best ways to stage your home and property in the most efficient and effective way for the market. You may also find that potential buyers exhibit less confidence about the prospect of considering your home because you don’t have an agent; and you may even experience more pressure from a buyer’s agent during negotiations.
We’re not saying it’s impossible to buy or sell your home on your own. Many people have. But it’s only advisable if you’re confident you know what you’re doing and you have the time to make it happen (or maybe you were a real estate agent in a past life).
To use an agent or not to use an agent: that is the question. And the answer really comes down to your particular circumstances, based on the factors described above, and more. Either way, we are able to help evaluate your mortgage options, and steer you in the best possible direction to get the most house for your money, or the most money for your house.