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Selling Your Home: Should You Use a Real Estate Agent?

By Stephen Davis
Special to Relocation.com

When you decide on selling your property, the first question that needs to be answered is whether or not you need a real-estate agent.

There are advantages and disadvantages in either option. The real estate agent has the advantage to reach a larger sales market. They also have the experience in convincing buyers and knows the step-by-step process of handing over the property.

However, the agent will take his commission, which usually is a handsome amount of money. On the other hand, by selling the house yourself you do save yourself more money from the sale. But then you are responsible of dealing with buyers and doing the complex paperwork.

To make the question clearer to you, here are a few things you need to look into before you decide whether or not you need a real estate agent.

Are they required by law?

In most cases no, the law does not require that you hire a real estate agent to conduct the sale of your property, although the impression is otherwise. However, there are some states that require you to have a real estate agent deal with the paperwork associated with the closing of the sale. If you are unsure about the laws in your state, check with the state department to make sure.

For Sale by Owner.
If you decide to sell the property yourself, you will be doing what is known as “For Sale by Owner” offer. The biggest advantage is that you will get the full sale price of the property without having to pay a real estate agent. But along the course of your sale you will realize why real estate agents charge what they charge. Selling a home requires a lot more effort, energy and time than you think it does.

A helpful tip: before you start the project of selling your house, check you area to determine the nature of the market. During a buyer’s market trend, you will have a harder time selling your property as you will be competing against real estate agents whose full time job is to sell property. The best time to sell your home yourself is when there is a seller’s market trend.

Legal matters.
If you are selling your property yourself, you need to be familiar with the laws and the legal process of selling and handing over your property to the buyer. You need to know the proper paperwork that needs to be prepared and how to handle and hurdles that may arise. Some states also require the seller to disclose certain physical characteristics of your property.
If the whole legal process seems overwhelming, then you are better off hiring a real estate agent.

Even though you may not want to hire a real estate agent, you can certainly use one for a few things. A real estate agent can help you determine the market trends and a suitable asking price. They can also help you list your home on MLS and provide an outline of the paperwork required.

For this the agent will just charge you a consultancy fee, which is quite reasonable in most cases.

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