Does working with an agent matter when you're selling your home?

When you decide to sell your home, you're probably primarily concerned about three things:

1. You want to sell the house for the best possible price.

2. You want your home to be marketed in the most effective way so the right buyer sees it and falls in love with it.

3. You want to sell quickly.

With these goals in mind, does it really matter if you work with a real estate agent or go the FSBO route and just sell the home yourself?

It turns out, it does matter, and the data shows it.

Homes sold by agents sell for more money than FSBOs.

Many sellers who try to sell their homes themselves do so because they believe they'll wind up with more money by not working with an agent.

But the truth is that the median price of homes sold by agents is over 16% higher than the median price of FSBO homes.

Skilled real estate agents know how to price homes correctly, they know the right home stagers and photographers to showcase your home to ensure it receives the optimal bids, and they have experience negotiating with buyers' agents. While you might have to try and get the best possible price for a home just a few times in your life, an agent hones that skill many times every week!

It comes down to experience and results: the agent has the experience in this area, and the data shows that experience matters. It gets results in the form of higher sale prices.

When it comes to marketing your home, yard signs just aren't enough.

The primary marketing tool of most FSBO home sellers is the good ol' yard sign.

But here's the cold hard truth: Since 2013, a mere 9% of buyers have found the house they purchased from yard signs. 50% of buyers say they use yard signs “rarely or not at all”! So if your hopes for a successful sale hang solely on that yard sign in your yard… you may wind up disappointed.

On the other hand, 77% of buyers say that they found the home they purchased via the internet and real estate agents.

This highlights another point: when you're looking for an agent, it's vital that you find someone who understands internet marketing, digital photography, and video. The internet is not just a powerful tool when connecting with potential buyers, it is the MOST powerful tool!

Homes sold by FSBO sell slightly faster… but there's more to the story.

The median time on market for FSBO homes is lower (two weeks) than the median time on market for homes sold by agents (four weeks). This is due mostly to the fact that the buyers and sellers in FSBO transactions often know one another.

“Great!” you might think, “I'll just sell to someone I know, and then I'll get this done quickly, AND by myself!” But it's not that easy. The vast majority of home sales happen between buyers and sellers who do not know each other. A full 94% of home sales were between parties who had no prior relationship. Betting on selling your home to someone you know is a long shot.

And the data doesn't lie: when urgency is a primary concern, sellers rely on agents to get the job done.

Of sellers who needed to sell their home very urgently, only 7% did so themselves. 86% used an agent.

So, does using an agent matter when you're selling your home? You bet.

The data makes it clear: Using an agent improves your chances of getting in front of the right buyer, getting a higher sale price, and getting your home sold as efficiently as possible.

Data Source: NAR 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers