Choosing to sell your home is a big decision. Engaging in this process means committing to investing in your property, keeping it clean for showings, and being ousted from your home for viewings — all while looking for a new home and meeting your everyday responsibilities. The costs associated with this process often lead to homeowners wondering if they really need to pay a realtor. Here are the pros and cons of hiring a realtor when selling your family home to help you decide. 

Pros & Cons of Hiring a Realtor


Pro: Access to Expert Advice

The primary benefit of working with a realtor is that you’ll have access to expert advice and market knowledge. While you can do some local market research to collect data, it takes experience and know-how to turn that data into useful information. A realtor will be up to date on market trends and what people are looking for in your area. 

When finding the best home realtor to sell your family home, look for someone established with proven experience in your area.

Con: Increased Selling Costs

The major deterrent to hiring a realtor is the increased selling cost. The average realtor takes a 4-6% commission on your home’s selling price. If your home sells for $300,000, you can expect to pay between $12,000 and $18,000 to your realtor. That price can debilitate depending on when you purchased your home and your current financial situation.  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual American salary in 2021 was $51,480. That means you might pay upward of 35% of your annual salary to a realtor for a one-time sale. While working with a skilled realtor has advantages, the commissions often limit people from selling their homes. 

Pro: Better Time Management

While realtors seemingly make large sums of cash for selling a home, the hourly work breakdown paints a different picture. Realtors put in long hours, often extending well into evenings and weekends. While some homes sell quickly, there’s still a lot of paperwork, scheduling, and administrative work to manage. Some realtors report putting anywhere from 6 to 100 hours of work into a single property.

As a homeowner, consider whether you can dedicate an extra 10 hours per week to selling your home. If you go this route, you’ll be wearing the hat of a marketer, salesperson, administrator, and more. These tasks will probably take you longer than a realtor to complete, as you don’t have a team to help and likely have a job or other responsibilities.

Of course, you can look at the money you save on commission as your payment for this task. However, if you already have a full schedule, it’s important to consider the time management and work involved.

Con: Sharing Time with Other Clients

You won’t be the only client when you work with a realtor. You’ll have to share your time, often waiting for updates or running into scheduling conflicts. 

An established realtor with a support team can effectively juggle several listings and clients without an issue. However, many independent realtors struggle with time management and could put you at risk of missing an opportunity to sell. Of course, established realtors charge higher commissions to support their extra resources.

Pro: Better Negotiation Skills

Negotiation skills are an art form that realtors learn during their education and training. Unless you’re a skilled salesperson by profession, you’ll leave money on the table by trying to handle negotiations yourself.

A realtor will know what to look for when accounting for contingencies, what to push back on, and reasonable numbers to accept or counter. This process isn’t just about negotiation skills but also about having the knowledge to back them up.

Con: Risk of Choosing the Wrong Agent

What happens if you get stuck with a bad selling agent? Many realtors use a contract agreement to secure their place as your agent. While there are typically contingencies to break the contract (such as your home not selling within a specific period), they’re nuanced and time-consuming.

If you choose to work with an agent, take your time and research the options. Ask for reviews or recommendations from trusted friends and family members. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about their experience and the challenges they’ve faced. Finally, don’t select an agent based on the cheapest commission.

Pro: Less Risk of Costly Mistakes

Making a mistake in your pricing and paperwork is a huge deal when selling a home. A simple misunderstanding can cost you thousands of dollars, make you lose the sale, and put your financial future at risk. 

A knowledgeable realtor won’t make those mistakes; if they do, you have the security net of litigation.

Con: Lack of Control Over Time and Access

If you value control over your schedule, selling timelines, access to your home, and your privacy, it’s worth considering a self-led sale. Many people going through a divorce or a tight financial situation don’t feel comfortable sharing their experience with a realtor. Furthermore, the time-consuming process of selling a home the traditional way may not be feasible. 

Pro: Access to a Greater Marketing Network

Finally, realtors will have access to a better marketing network. Many realtors will include marketing fees in their costs and can add homes to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Buyers’ agents will be more likely to show a home handled by a fellow realtor, as it allows them a portion of the sales commission.

While there are many advantages to working with a realtor, it’s not for everybody. Consider these pros and cons when determining what works best for you.


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About the Author: Ashley Edwards