Selling a Home

Explore your Options: Best Ways to Sell a House

Option 1. Hire a Real Estate Agent

The most common way to sell a home, used in 90% sales, is to use a local Real Estate Agent.  The agent will list the home, market it, and coordinate showings with other agents and potential buyers.  They will also help you evaluate offer, negotiate terms with the buyer, and ensure the deal goes through.  They will also attend the closing appointment with you.

Traditional Real Estate Agents typically operate on a commission-based fee model.  The seller’s agent is compensated at a percentage of the final price, which they then split with the buyer’s agent. 

Pros and Cons of Traditional Real Estate Agents

Pros Cons
Your agent will be there to help you through the entire process
Costly (about 6% of the sales price)
Access to agent marketing tools and listing services
Less control over pricing and marketing strategies
Assistance with negotiations and contracts
Requires cleaning, staging, and photographing your home
Connections to local vendors and industry partners (e.g., inspectors and contractors)
Requires showings and open houses
Less work on your part
Most likely to get top dollar-for your home sale

Using a Real Estate Agent is best if you:

  • Want help and guidance during the sales process
  • Aren’t well-versed in real estate
  • Want to ensure your home sells for top-dollar

Option 2: A Flat Fee or Discount Agent

Some real estate agencies, such as Redfin, Clever, and Reali, provide agents that work on a flat-fee or discounted-fee structure. These agents typically help you list your home but may not offer the same amount of hands-on help a full-service agent does. Instead of a standard 3% fee, some are as low as 1%.

Pros and Cons of Flat-Fee or Discount Agents

Pros Cons
Cheaper than traditional agents
May come with limited services
Access to agent marketing tools and listing services
Often requires you to do more of the legwork
Offers some assistance with negotiations and contractss
Requires cleaning, staging, and photographing your home
Requires showings and open houses
May need to pay additional fee for buyer's agent (normally 3%)

Using a flat fee agent is best if you:

  • Want some help but are willing to do some of the work on your own
  • Are somewhat familiar with the process of selling a home
  • Want to save on Agent Commisions

Option 3: Sell To An iBuyer

iBuyers, a fairly new option for home sellers, are online companies that purchase homes directly from their owners, usually via a cash offer. There are no commissions or agent fees but there may still be other types of fees associated with these services.

After entering information about your property on an iBuyer website, you’ll get an offer, either instantly or within a few days. If you choose to accept it, you can select a closing date and collect your money. If you don’t, you are free to solicit other offers or list your home on the open market.

iBuyer Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Can sell online without meeting an agent in person
Sale prices are typically lower than on the open market
No staging or showing the home
Must be able to provide many details about your home
Fast (often instant) sales
Not available in all markets
No commissions or agent fees
Not available on all types of properties

An iBuyer is best if you:

  • Want to close quickly and collect your cash
  • Want to avoid staging and showing your home
  • Are fairly technologically savvy

Option 4: Sell The Home Yourself

You always have the option to sell your home yourself, known an FSBO (For Sale By Owner). About 7% of sellers choose this option.

To do this, you’ll need to market your house, and then coordinate showings with buyers and their agents. You’ll also need to handle the negotiations, contracts, and other details of the sale on your own or enlist a real estate attorney for help. 

Pros Cons
Total control over the pricing, marketing, and showing of your home
No access to marketing tools or listing services
Flexibility in timing
No commissions or agent fees (a commission to the buyer's agent is still common)
May take longer to sell
May get a lower sales price
May require a real estate attorney or some level of personal real estate knowledge 

FSBO is best if you are:

  • Very familiar with the home selling process
  • Comfortable pricing and marketing your home
  • Not in a huge rush to sell

Making the Choice

You don’t have to make a hard-and-fast decision right away. Instead, talk to a few agents, get quotes from several iBuyers, and scope out your local market. Think hard about how much time and knowledge you bring to the table before deciding which pathway to take.

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