Thinking of Selling a Home Without a Real Estate Agent? Here's Why That Tactic May Not Work Well Today

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  • Despite low real estate inventory, today's sellers don't have the same upper hand they did a year ago.
  • Partnering up with a real estate agent could help you walk away with a higher sale price.
  • Look for a real estate agent with good communication skills who knows your area well.

Demand just isn't what it used to be.

Any time you have a situation where there's not enough supply of a given commodity to meet demand, its price tends to rise. That might explain why as of January 2023, home prices were still up 1.3% on a national level compared to a year prior, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

A big reason home prices haven't plunged on the heels of soaring mortgage rates is none other than a lack of inventory. As of the end of January, there was only a 2.9-month supply of available homes on the national real estate market, per the NAR. And it can take up to a 6-month supply of homes to fully meet buyer demand and level the playing field so sellers don't have a clear upper hand.

Given where housing inventory is, it's easy to see why you may be inclined to sell a home in today's market without enlisting the help of a real estate agent. After all, if you don't hire an agent, you won't have to lose a portion of your sale proceeds to their commission. 

But it's important to recognize that buyer demand isn't nearly as strong today as it was a year ago. And for that reason alone, hiring an agent may be worth it.

You might come out ahead financially

It's gotten really expensive to take out a mortgage loan. Because of this, buyers aren't clamoring for homes like they once were, and sellers are no longer getting away with commanding sky-high prices.

Now, this doesn't mean you won't end up getting a decent price for your home. But if you want to increase your chances of snagging a price you're happy with, then you may want to get the help of a real estate agent. 

Real estate agents -- good ones, at least -- are very in tune with the market. And they tend to be experts at pricing homes just right. So if you team up with one, they may be able to use their knowledge to price your home effectively.

Just as importantly, real estate agents are commonly great negotiators. So not only can an agent help you set the right home price, but they can also negotiate with potential buyers to get you a number you're happy with.

Plus, any time you list a home, there's the potential to spend a fair amount of money getting your property into better shape. A real estate agent can help you figure out where to prioritize your spending to make the most impact.

How to find the right real estate agent

One of the most important steps you can take on the road to finding a real estate agent is to ask people you know about their experiences. There's nothing like a positive endorsement from a satisfied customer to point you in the right direction. 

It's also important to decide what you want from a real estate agent. You'll want to focus on things like area expertise and communication skills. 

Before you hire a real estate agent, talk to at least a few. Get a sense of how they work and what skills they bring to the table. Working with a real estate agent in today's market could definitely pay off. But you'll get the most benefit if you choose the right agent.

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