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Should You Really List With A Realtor? (Maybe, Maybe Not)

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Realtor and client shaking hands, but should you really list with a realtor?

Ask Yourself A Few Questions Before Calling That Realtor

The day has finally come. The day you decide you're ready to sell your house. It could be for a variety of reasons.

  • Maybe you're upgrading

  • You could be downsizing

  • Or perhaps you got a new job and need to move

Whatever the case may be, if you're reading this article, you must be wondering:

  • Should I list my house with a realtor?

  • Is there another way to sell my house?

  • What should I do?

Luckily, there is an answer to all of these questions, but the answer is everyone's favorite.

It depends!

Let's dive into whether or not you should hire a realtor, or pursue another means of selling your house.

How Quickly Do You Need To Sell?

According to Zillow, the average time to sell a house is 68 days. In one case, I've seen someone's home sit on the open market for over a year!

When you list with a real estate agent, your house will be put up on the MLS, and from there, you and your agent will play the waiting game until you get an offer you'd like to accept.

There's no way to know how long you'll be waiting.

  • Maybe you'll be fortunate and get an offer right away.

  • Maybe you'll fall into the average and sell close to 68 days.

  • Maybe you'll be extraordinarily unlucky and sit on the market for months.

Do you need to sell your house quickly and can't wait? Listing with a real estate agent may not be the best option for you.

Do You Want To Pay The Commission?

When you list your house with a realtor, you will have to pay commissions when the property sells. According to Redfin, the average realtor commission is 5% - 6%

Real estate commissions are almost always negotiable, but when selling a high priced home, every percent you have to fork over in commissions will add up quickly.

To be precise, that's $30,000 on the sale of a $500,000 house!

Wow, talk about a lot of money.

You could select a Redfin realtor to list and sell your home, and they will charge you as little as 1.5% commission. 1.5% commission is much better than 6%, but it's not as good as no commission.

Good thing there's a way to sell your house, and not have to pay commissions.

Do You Want To Deal With Showings?

When you list your house, if you still live in it, you will have to leave when an interested buyer wants to check it out.

If you're sitting on the market for months, you will have to be prepared to leave your home to accommodate a viewing at a moment's notice.

I've often seen people require a 24-hour notice to allow them to leave the property.

Most home viewing appointments can last up to an hour, and who wants to be forced to leave their home regularly for up to an hour at a time?

If there are a lot of viewings, you may find yourself having to leave your house multiple times a day. What are you going to do for all those hours?

Do You Want To Deal With Picky Buyers?

Traditional homebuyers can be picky and may come with a lot of strings attached. If everything isn't perfect, a conventional buyer may back out of their own free will, or they may be forced to back out for other reasons.

  • Traditional buyers may back out of buying if they aren't happy with the inspection.

  • Traditional buyers may not be able to secure financing.

  • Traditional buyers may suffer from buyer's remorse, and use a contingency to back out.

According to Trulia, only about 3.9% of home sales fell through back in 2016, so, most home sales work out. A failed deal is an issue you, hopefully, won't run into but should be aware of just in case.

If you're confused about what offer you should accept for your house, you should check out our ultimate guide for picking the best offer for your house.

Do You Want To Deal With Repairs, Clean Up, And Staging?

When you decide to list your house, it's no secret that the better condition it's in, the more you'll get for it.

You also may get a better offer faster if you stage your home professionally, so potential buyers get hit with that "Wow!" factor when they walk in.

Home renovations alone can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, depending on what you need to be done.

According to HomeAdvisor, the average kitchen remodel can cost homeowners $23,856! And you know what they say: Kitchens sell homes.

Doing some quick cleaning and tidying isn't too expensive, but the staging and renovating of a house can easily cost you thousands of dollars.

Sure, you could go through extensive renovations, cleaning, and staging to get your house in tip-top shape for potential buyers, but if you don't want to deal with any of these headaches, there is a much easier way to sell.

Do You Want To Wait Weeks To Get An Offer?

When you list your house on the MLS, there's no telling how long it will take for you to get an offer. As mentioned above, on average, homes can sit on the market for 68 days before selling.

How quickly you get an offer depends on multiple factors.

  • Is your home priced correctly?

  • Is your home located in a desirable area?

  • What condition is the home in, and is it priced to match it?

Listing your house is a gamble with how long it'll take for you to get a good offer.

You certainly don't want to be the owner who's been on the market for six months with no offers.

Do You Want To Wait Weeks or Months to Close?

Eventually, you will get an offer on your home. Whether you like the offer or not, is a different story. If you accept the offer, you'll likely still have to wait weeks, maybe even months to close the sale.

I received an offer once that had the closing date one and a half months out. That's a long time just to sit and wait.

Keep in mind; buyers still have the opportunity to back out of the deal during this waiting period. If they do use a contingency, they can cost you weeks worth of time the home could have been shown to other interested parties.

Do You Want To Be Locked Into A Six Month or More Agreement?

When you decide to list with a realtor, they will have you sign your favorite thing.


The paperwork you sign will probably lock you into only being able to sell your house through the agent you signed with. You can easily find yourself locked in for up to six months.

What happens if you decide you don't want to sell with a realtor anymore?

Maybe they will let you off the hook, or perhaps you'll have to wait until your agreement expires if the house doesn't sell.

If you come to find out you don't like the agent you signed with, you may be stuck with them for months until you can find a new one, or try to sell a different way.

Would You Rather Sell "For Sale By Owner?"