Most people don’t think twice about using an agent. Armed with plenty of experience and an abundance of contacts, they certainly have their benefits. But enlisting their expertise has drawbacks, too.
An agent will take care of all the heavy lifting involved in selling your home. But they’ll take between 1.5% and 3.5% of the sale price as commission, and so it’s not a bad idea to weigh up the benefits of going it alone.
Here are the pros and cons of using an agent, to help you make an informed decision.
What are the benefits of using an agent?
Experienced and well-connected, agents are well placed to secure a great sale price for your home. Here are some reasons to hire one.
1. They save you time and hassle
What’s your time worth?
It’s a question worth considering, as selling a property is a fairly protracted affair. It requires someone to set up a marketing campaign, research and price the property, meet buyers at open for inspections, follow those buyers up, and then go through the process of actually selling it.
Hire an agent and you’ll be able to spend your time on more important things, such as work or family.
If you manage the sale yourself, your lack of availability might turn some buyers off. Picture: Getty
2. They have better sales skills
They say you can’t buy experience, but you can in a way: you can buy your agent’s.
Buyer’s advocate and former agent Luke Assigal, from Parley Property Advisory, says that when vendors hire an agent they are paying for their expertise and experience, their contacts and networks of buyers, and their intimate knowledge of the local property market.
“You use an agent purely because they’re experienced and have knowledge in the area.
“A good agent will sit down with you and tell you how your property should be presented and advise on the best marketing campaign,” Assigal says, adding that an agent can help you both avoid the pitfalls and distinguish time-wasters from serious buyers.
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3. Buyers can contact them more easily
Assigal says one of the biggest advantages of using an agent is that it’s their job to be available at the times most buyers need them, which is almost certain to be more often than you are.
In fact, your limited availability could turn some buyers off, resulting in fewer prospective buyers attending your inspections.
“I went through a property on the weekend. When I looked at it online, straight away I could see there was no vendor or agent on it, so I actually had to call the number on the screen, which went to a pre-recorded message,” Assigal says.
“I put the property ID in there and then they released to me the vendor’s direct number. I called the vendor direct and couldn’t get through the property for a week. So it was very restrictive, and if you want to sell your property you need to show as many people through as possible.”
Vendors who sell their property themselves are often caught short. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
4. They better understand property values
There’s no point in saving $10,000 in agent commissions if you then go on to lose five to 10 times that amount because you don’t know the true value of your own home. Which is what Assigal says happens to vendors who try to go it alone.
“They’re trying to save some money, so they’ll save the commission but lose $50,000 in the process,” he says.
“Pricing properties is an art. Price it too low and you’ll get too many buyers and they’ll be annoyed. Price it too high and you’ll get no buyers, so you need to price it effectively.”
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You need strong people skills to sell a home. Picture: Thinkstock
What are the benefits of selling without an agent?
Although rare, some people do choose to sell their home without an agent. Here are the benefits.
1. You’ll save money on their commission
The main benefit of selling without an agent is that it saves you tens of thousands in fees and commissions.
But doing so is complicated and time-consuming, and only suits people with time on their hands and a good level of business acumen.
2. You can negotiate the sale price with buyers personally
Acting as your own agent, you’ll need to decide your home’s sale price, put together a marketing campaign, negotiate the price, obtain a deposit, organise a solicitor to draft the contract of sale, and then handle the settlement.
Though some might see this as a negative as negotiating the price of something you’re personally emotionally invested in, such as the sale of a family home, can be difficult to remain impartial about.
You’ll need to keep your emotions in check when valuing your home and deciding whether to accept an offer. Negotiating requires a confident manner and strategic mind, too, so you should make sure that you have these skills before jumping headfirst into the process.
3. You can be more hands on with the marketing
For those wishing to undertake their own sale you’ll need enough time to market the property, hold open for inspections, and get your property into a good enough condition for it perform well on the market.