What Do Real Estate Agents Do (And Can They Really Help)?

You’ve got Zillow, Trulia, RealtyHive, and countless other online real estate databases these days. So what exactly is the point of a listing agent? Are they still relevant, particularly if you’re selling your house?

Spoiler alert: The answer is yes. But we’re going to dive into this topic with full transparency, weighing the pros and cons of hiring an agent.

Wait a minute — what’s a listing agent?

A listing agent is a real estate agent who works directly with sellers. A selling agent (more colloquially known as a buyer’s agent) works with people trying to purchase a home. Those who are new to buying and selling houses tend to use “real estate agent” as a blanket term. All the same, it’s good to know the distinction.

So with that being said, in a world where everyone seems to put their house up online, why should you consider working with a listing agent?

Listing Agent Pros

Agents have more experience.

Unless you also have your Realtor license, an agent has experience and connections that far surpass the average seller. They might know buyers’ agents who are helping someone find their dream home (and that dream home could be your current property). They know the region specifically in terms of selling a house, not just in a “this is where the grocery store is” type of way.

Agents can set the right price.

Knowledge of the region aside, are far more experienced in setting the right price. An appraisal tells the value of your property, but an agent knows how much it can likely sell for. They calculate other sold properties in the area to get you the most bang for your buck. 

Not to mention, they’re highly motivated to do so since they’re paid on commission. The more your home goes for, the more they get as well. 

Agents are like personal assistants.

Imagine a world where you never had to go through emails or make calls and someone else handled all the minutiae of your life. Now take this dreamy scenario and make it real by hiring a listing agent. Phone calls, paperwork, scheduling, house showings, stagings — the best listing agents are borderline superheroes for the work that they do.

Agents market your property.

Oftentimes, simply uploading house pictures that you took on your iPhone to a real estate database is not enough. Agents will actually market your property to ensure that it sells (and again, for the right price). Not having to worry about marketing saves you time and maybe even money — a proper marketing job might get you more on your home’s sale.

Listing Agent Cons-iderations

One thing to note — these situations might be cons for some, but pros for others. It’s up to you to decide if working with an agent is worth it. Take these “cons” as questions to think over. 

Are you OK with paying commission?

A lot of sellers are reluctant to pay a 6% commission to their listing agent. And, fair, you want to make as much as you can from selling your home.

That being said, many people think this is reasonable trade for the hassle of going the FSBO route. As we mentioned, you might get more for your home with the help of an agent than from flying solo. 

Is your agent doing anything that you couldn’t do on your own?

If you have a great agent, the answer to this is a resounding “yes!” A not-so-great agent and, well, you might be paying for something that you could have handled by yourself.

A way to find the answer to this question is to ask some questions of your own:

  • Do you know anyone who’s worked with a listing agent in your area? If so, would that seller recommend them?
  • Does your potential agent have a sound marketing strategy in place?
  • What’s their experience level?
  • Do they help with staging (great agents will)?
  • What can you expect from them (or what do they say you can expect from them)?

Can you take on some of the tasks but get help with others?

Sometimes you can work with low-fee or flat-fee agents who can do certain tasks (like draft up paperwork) but not everything. You could find someone who takes on the aspects of house selling that you consider least desirable.

If that’s more up your alley, consider working with RealtyHive. While we do have a network of agents, we understand that not every seller wants to go that route. We provide marketing for sellers and if your house doesn’t sell in a time-limited event right away, you don’t have to pay any fees. Whether you go with this option or are in search of an outstanding listing agent, we wish you the best of luck!