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Should I use a real estate agent or sell my home myself?

Although the "For Sale By Owner" option has become more popular in recent years, there are many reasons to consider using a state licensed real estate agent.
  1. Time - Selling a home is a full-time job. In addition to marketing the home, and showing the home, there are many behind the scenes tasks that can consume a large amount of time. Other tasks that a real estate agent typically handles include: arranging for settlement, following up with interested buyers, coordinating necessary inspections, preparing contracts, insuring no state laws are violated, and in general protecting the interests of the seller. When a home seller considers these factors, as well as their own job, family, personal interests, the time required to find their new home and preparation for moving, there often aren't enough hours in the day.

  2. Maximizing the Sale Price - Although the "For Sale BY Owner" option can typically save the average home seller some commissions, these gains can be offset in not receiving the best sale price for the property. Real Estate Agents have a good understanding of how much a home will sell for in a particular market. By using resources such as specialty magazines, publications, networking, multiple list services, web sites, etc., real estate agents are able to maximize the sale price of a property.

    In addition, the potential savings is not as great as sometimes thought when you consider the fact that in most contracts the real estate agent pays for all marketing of the property. If you consider the fact that the agent may also enable you the home seller to receive a higher sale price, than if they sold the home themselves, the option of selling the home yourself becomes much less attractive.

  3. Other Costs - When considering the cost of using a real estate agent, it is also important to consider the cost of not using an agent. Moving to a new home often requires a home buyer to purchase the new house before the old house has been sold. When this happens, unfortunately the home buyer is stuck with two mortgages, two electric bills, two water bills, two phone bills, etc. Because a real estate agent is able to maximize the number of people that see the property and price the house right the first time, they can often substantially reduce the amount of time required to sell the home. A faster sale saves the home seller money.

  4. Unforeseen Problems - Another responsibility of the real estate agent is to identify some of the potential problems that may affect the sale of your home. Potential problems include zoning issues, ground rents, termites, easements, title issues, buyer credit issues, environmental issues, lead paint, etc. Maryland State Licensing requirements and industry experience help prepare the real estate agent to identify, avoid, and find solutions to these problems. Working with an experienced real estate agent capable of eliminating obstacles in the sales process can save the home seller both time and money.
The answer to the question, "Can I sell my home without a real estate agent?" is, "Yes you absolutely can." A home owner can also repair their own plumbing, install their own air conditioner, sweep their own chimney, and fix their own car. When considering the fact that a persons' home is typically their largest and most important investment, using a real estate agent is a smart decision. If your goal is to sell your house for the best price in the least amount to time without a lot of stress, then you need an experienced Baltimore real estate agent.