Do You Need a Realtor to Sell Your Home?
Oct 26, 2022
Agent fees are your single largest expense when selling your home - typically about 5.5 - 6.0% of the final sales price. As a result, people frequently ask, "Do I need a realtor to sell my home"? The short answer is no.
And before you decide if you want to use an agent or not when selling your home, check out the new alternatives available including selling on your own (FSBO) and lower listing fee options from discount brokers.
What does a real estate agent actually do when listing and selling your home?
It’s important to note that real estate agents can be a valuable resource in the home buying and selling process. Some things they assist with include:
- determining the value of your home
- marketing it through the MLS and other channels
- coordinating showings
- helping with negotiation and contract management
However, with today’s technology, is that worth the typical 3% listing agent commission? Or the equivalent of $12,000 (not including Buyer's agent commission) to sell a $400,000 house? Before the internet era, selling your home largely depended on the skill, local connections and marketing efforts of your agent.
Today, technology has radically changed the process. Now, according to the National Association of Realtors, over 90% of home buyers are looking online, rendering old-school methods – mailing postcards, printing flyers, and open houses – largely obsolete. There are agents who still use these methods, but most of them are leveraging these practices in order to find new clients– not to help you sell your home.
Alternative options for selling your home
Option 1: For Sale By Owner (Non-MLS Listing)
"For Sale By Owner" or "FSBO" allows you to avoid using a listing agent altogether. Rather than relying on a listing agent to input your home in the local MLS (multiple listing service), most homeowners that sell FSBO will list for free through Zillow and simply stick a yard sign in their yard. All traffic and interest will be directed through the homeowner, who manages the showings through direct phone calls or texts.
By using this approach, many buyers will see your home on Zillow, but you’d miss out on all the buyers who are on other sites like Realtor.com, Redfin, and Homes.com — not to mention brokerage websites like KellerWilliams.com, ReMax.com, etc. That's because all of these non-Zillow sites and apps are fed via a local MLS data feed.
Option 2: Flat Fee MLS-Only Listing
Price: $500 paid up front
Alternatively, you could pay for bare-bones MLS access through a flat fee broker. Given this scenario, you could pay $500 (on average) upfront to get listed in the local MLS for a defined period of time (usually 60 or 90 days). A flat fee MLS listing will get your home exposure to all of the major real estate sites and apps, like Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, etc. Plus all of the brokerage websites like Kellerwilliams.com and ReMax.com.
Similar to FSBO, you’ll forgo help determining your home’s value, coordinating showings, and getting assistance with negotiations. Using one of these services gets your home on more websites but you'll still need to be the main point of contact for all inquiries and you'll need to manage the contract and escrow process once you get an offer.
Option 3: Tech - Enabled, Discount Broker
Price: 1% paid at closing
This new breed of real estate companies leverages technology and today's consumer behaviors to offer critical exposure without the old school mentality or cost structure. A tech enabled, discount broker will offer free photography, an MLS listing, coordination of home tours, contract negotiation and management of paperwork for a low commission rate of 1%.
The lower listing fee saves home sellers thousands in commissions without sacrificing the service and support that they'd expect from a large, traditional brokerage.
Where can I find a tech-enable broker?
SimpleShowing is one example serving Florida, Texas and Georgia. For a 1% listing fee, we provide full service and support for sellers – everything you’d expect from a traditional agent without the hefty price tag. In fact, SimpleShowing sellers save around $7,500 on average compared to using a traditional broker while still getting the same expert services.
Can SimpleShowing help with buying a home?
Some tech brokerages can help when you’re buying as well. At SimpleShowing, you can also get full service and save thousands when you buy. When you work with a SimpleShowing Agent to purchase a home, we will give you up to a $15,000 buyer refund when you close. Learn more about our buyer refund.
Bottom Line — Don’t use a brokerage with a commission structure from the 1980’s. Thanks to the internet and powerful new tools, consumers have access to more data than ever before – and are doing more of the work in the home buying and selling processes.
By embracing this shift, tech brokerages allow their agents to focus on what really matters and add the most value for each client – saving you thousands in the process.