Real Estate Agents: Do I Need One?

By: Craig Stanford

All of us like to keep as much of our money as we can. It's human nature. So when we make one of the biggest sales of our lives, we have to pause for a moment when we think about spending thousands of dollars on a real estate agent to handle the sale.

One of the biggest reasons that someone hires a real estate agent comes down to just one thing: time. If someone is selling a house, then they are probably looking for a new house or are shopping for items for a new house. They won't have the time to advertise, take calls, show the house, handle the negotiations and close the deal.

In my state of Oregon, agents are tested and then if they pass, they are granted a license to sell real estate by the state. Applicants sign up for a class at the end of which they take their real estate license test.

Whether or not you hire an agent, you need to first set a price that is in line with the current housing market. It's hard to set a price if you don't know how much the houses in your area have been selling for. A real estate professional has spent many hours going through the local listings and showing local houses, so he or she may have a far better idea as to what your house is worth.

Another area where real estate agents have a lot of experience is in negotiations. If more that one party wants your house, a skilful negotiator may be able to get more that the asking price for your house.

If you're thinking about selling your house by yourself, ask yourself how much do you know about escrow, inspection, appraisal, earnest money and closing? Be sure to think about all of these things when thinking about trusting a pro to handle your real estate transaction.

Naturally, you could always decide to be your own agent. Most of the people who sell their houses themselves, do so because they would like to put more cash in their pockets at closing.

Just to show you how much the market has changed, when I got into the real estate market in 1984 I paid $40,000. for my first house.00. I beleave the going rate back then was 6%, so the real estate agent would have received $500.00.I've made some improvements plus the market in my area has been hot for some time now, so I think that the house would go now for around $300.000.00. If I figured the same percentage, the commission would be a whopping $15,000.00. This is a lot of money. After thinking about the money I could save, it's easy to why a lot of people seriously ponder being their own real estate agent.

What I have to think about is how much that house has increased in value since I bought it. The trouble is; I won't see any of that appreciation unless I sell the house.

If you've experienced a great deal of appreciation as I have, then maybe you can negotiate a lower fee with your real estate agent.

If I did sell the house myself I could lower the asking price by the amount equal to what a real estate agent would charge or if I could get my full asking price, or I could keep all of the profits, but this would be a gamble.

Whether or not you decide to sell you own home will be up to you. Your decision will be based mainly on whether you have the time available, the patience, the knowledge and the confidence

In summary, I can understand the peace of mind that comes from hiring a real estate professional, but then maybe I just lack the confidence. My hope is that you can use the above paragraphs to honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses when deciding whether or not to hire a real estate professional to help with your sale.

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