Selling a home is more work than you might think, which is why four out of five homes sold annually in the U.S. are sold through a real estate agent. Here we’ll explain the benefits of using an agent.

Benefits of using an agent:

  • Agents know the market and can help you determine the right price for your home;
  • Agents have a vested interest (their commission) in selling your home for the highest amount possible;
  • They have far greater resources than you for locating buyers and steering them to your home, such as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), a computerized database of shared listings, and comp books, which list recent sales prices of homes similar to yours in your neighborhood – the key determiner of your home’s worth;
  • Agents can keep cool, level heads during the negotiating process;
  • They can help save you valuable time.

The Listing Agreement
A listing agreement is a legal contract regarding how you will work with the agent. The most common are exclusive listings, which fall into two categories:

  • Exclusive agency: Here the agent you hire is the only agent who will receive a commission, however if you sell your home yourself, the agent receives no compensation. This puts you at odds with the agent, who doesn’t have much incentive to work hard since he or she might not end up getting paid.
  • Exclusive right to sell: The most popular type of listing, it guarantees the agent a commission no matter who finds a buyer, be it you or a buyer’s agent.

No matter what kind of listing you choose, each involves signing a legal contract spelling out the compensation terms (commission, flat fee, or hourly rate) and termination date for the agreement. If you have any questions at all about this contract, consult your real estate attorney. An agent cannot answer legal questions.

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