To hire a realtor or to not hire a realtor, that is the question.

12 Replies

Hey all! My fiancée and I had bought a 1 owner, 1960's ranch fixer-upper to live in while renovating (with our 2 kids) 3 years ago. We have completely gutted the house besides the bedrooms and trying to finish up so that we can put it on the market in 2-3 weeks. We have 2 prospective realtors we know to choose from, but we also have pondered the idea of selling ourselves... with this being our first flip and not knowing too much about selling, should we stick with a realtor or should we go on a whim and try to sell the house ourselves.... ANY input would be appreciated! 

Hi @Thibe L. ,

As a Realtor myself, I may seem biased, but I'd use an agent if I were trying to sell my first property and didn't have intimate market knowledge or marketing expertise. The money that people try to save by not using a Realtor typically results in longer days on market and a lower selling price. Of course this doesn't happen every single time as every market and submarket can vary.

If you already have 2 Realtors lined up, you can give them a shot and take notes about how they market your property and ask lots of questions so you can gain the knowledge to list the next one yourself. 

@Thibe L.

I would suggest going with an experienced realtor in your area, and attempting to build a relationship with them. You may be able to sell it yourselves, but it may take more time and cost you more money. Let them know exactly what you guys are looking to get, and a timeline for how quick you'd like to move the property. They may be even able to help you find more investment properties that you and your fiancee can rehab in the future.

Best of luck!

@Thibe L.

I agree with everyone's suggestion to go with an agent in your area.

I would even suggest speaking with someone now before you finish so you can get a second opinion on what's selling right now. Buyers have been really choosy about things these days. It's very common to find people on BP listing their flips and later wondering why they aren't receiving offers. You should really get feedback now before listing.

Also, by working with an agent now, that person can also help you find your next home... If you plan to stay in the immediate area the agent works in, you can do a package deal. Certain % now if you help me find the next home with the assumption of fixing and selling that one as well...

Im not a realtor, and i agreed w everyone else get a realtor.
I understand it might seem like a good idea skipping one and saving 6%.
In my opinion a good realtor value is more than 6%, money we’ll spend..
I emphasize in good realtor as in any industry there are bad and good Ive been fortunate enough to work with the best..

@Thibe Luong in my experience selling or buying without a realtor is like dentistry without novocaine! It is a complex transaction and realtors have the necessary training and expertise to get you through the deal safely and profitably. Owners typically like their properties too much and over price and under disclose. At least that's my experience and others may have had different ones.

I will have to play the opposite side of the fence . If you are in a desirable location and you are in a hot market . You can do it yourself .   Four houses in my neighborhood sold from facebook or word of mouth . Each one sold for asking price .  Each one was sold within 3 days .  These houses were between $ 550K and $675K .   Similar houses in the same and similar neighborhoods , listed by agents were bringing the same numbers .   

One of the neighbors said " what I saved in commissions  is buying me my new fishing boat " 

What all does an agent do besides having a seller sign a "three months or until sold" contract, and listing the property on the MLS?

What all does a trained, licensed agent do to market/sell/close on a house?

I was going to ask this myself today, as I know someone who needs this information.

Appreciate all of the responses! 

My fiancée has done work for both of them as he is a full-time handyman for a thriving and well known business out of Kennebunkport and on the side. 

We have our (part-time) Realtor that helped with buying this first flip/house (I have already reached out to her last week, asking questions here and there with very little input and response) , then we have another Realtor that he does more work for than her, since she's a flipper. She's flipped 60 houses since 2006! I asked both of them how much they charge (which is the same) and the realtor that flips gave us a descriptive detail on why, while the other did not (raised a red flag to me) Now they both are assuming that we are going to use them... 

Market is great around here right now. We live on a dead end, in an up and coming city with lots of building going on, a brand new high school built and will be done some time this year, also is less than a mile away from us and close to in town but not too close.

My neighbors house was sold this past Dec. Sold in two weeks.. I've been looking at past comps and comparable houses being sold are in the same price range as what we would price ours at. Still debating on hiring an appraiser as well. 

Originally posted by @Thibe L. :

Appreciate all of the responses! 

My fiancée has done work for both of them as he is a full-time handyman for a thriving and well known business out of Kennebunkport and on the side. 

We have our (part-time) Realtor that helped with buying this first flip/house (I have already reached out to her last week, asking questions here and there with very little input and response) , then we have another Realtor that he does more work for than her, since she's a flipper. She's flipped 60 houses since 2006! I asked both of them how much they charge (which is the same) and the realtor that flips gave us a descriptive detail on why, while the other did not (raised a red flag to me) Now they both are assuming that we are going to use them... 

Market is great around here right now. We live on a dead end, in an up and coming city with lots of building going on, a brand new high school built and will be done some time this year, also is less than a mile away from us and close to in town but not too close.

My neighbors house was sold this past Dec. Sold in two weeks.. I've been looking at past comps and comparable houses being sold are in the same price range as what we would price ours at. Still debating on hiring an appraiser as well. 

 If you weren't new to selling I would say to try on your own for sure if you have a handle on price.  But you're new, so I'd hire #2. All it will take is for you to miss 1 disclosure like lead paint or condition that could blow up the whole sale and/or get you sued.

Plus, you're selling with a partner. How's title held? How will proceeds be split? How with the title co make out the check or wire?  Partnerships, whether you're cohabitating or not, can be tricky. 

Hire a pro and learn so next time going solo is a possibility. 

Originally posted by @Mary R. :

What all does an agent do besides having a seller sign a "three months or until sold" contract, and listing the property on the MLS?

What all does a trained, licensed agent do to market/sell/close on a house?

I was going to ask this myself today, as I know someone who needs this information.

Good agents do make it look easy. For sellers, we insure proper state and local disclosures are prepared and available before offers are made; market beyond MLS & online listings, like postcards, flyers, Open Houses, agent networking, etc.; schedule showings and analyze feedback; assist with and analyze offers to insure you are protected, (ex., avoiding those trying to tie it up to resell or not really qualified, clarify costs involved or strange terms in offer, etc.); guidance through inspections (as many sellers get emotional and lose sale during this process), coordinate required repairs, resale packages, comps for appraiser to help avoid appraisal issues, pest and moisture reports, walk-through, etc. For sellers who do not know the process well, any of these can become problematic, and if you've left yourself unprotected in the contract, potentially costly. If you're one of the lucky ones that finds a buyer immediately who is qualified, agrees to your price, doesn't care if you've missed a disclosure, isn't picky at the inspections, and basically just wants you out and them in, then you don't need an agent. I know that I work hard for my clients, as even the "easy" sales usually require lots of time and coordination, termite/moisture issues, emergency repairs (just recently, roof leak the day of walk-through, frozen pipe when power went out after home inspection before appraisal), title problems, closing delays due to tax transcript issues. Life is messy, home sales are not always happy life events, and my clients appreciate the valuable service I provide.

I think this can go either way based on so many variables. However, if you choose to go with a realtor, make sure you do research and interview to find a good one! A good realtor can be a great asset and definitely be worth the cost in commissions, but bad ones can potentially crush profits. Just like any profession, some are lazy, inexperienced, unethical, etc. so do full interviews! If you find a good one, keep them on your team! Here's a real life example that I experienced... I met with a realtor who wanted to list my property at 273k. I knew this was low and that all she did was look at a few comps and match price per sq ft. Luckily, I knew the area very well to know this was low. I ended up listing the home and getting it under contract in 2 weeks for 290k just paying 3% buyers agent commission. So, let's do the math...I gained 3% (a little over 8k) plus 17k in profit for a total of over 25k in extra profits! Now, this was a hot area and I knew it would sell. Not every case is like this.

@Thibe L. Hey Thibe, since this is your first go at selling, it's best you get a realtor to help you guys out. 

I can appreciate that how the idea of selling and keeping that commission sounds good, but sometimes, it's best to pay upfront to prevent any legal quagmires down the road.  

Hope this helps. Goodluck. Thanks! - Ola 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.

By signing up, you indicate that you agree to the BiggerPockets Terms & Conditions.