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Choosing how you’re going to sell dictates every other aspect of the process, from the selling strategy, to the cost of selling the home, and the preparation you’ll need to do. In the digital age, sellers no longer need to list their home with a real estate agent—you have options. But, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to determine the best fit for your circumstances.

With a real estate agent

The real estate agent (or listing agent) markets the home, prepares the paperwork, and communicates with the buyer’s agent—the real estate professional who assists the buyer with finding and closing on the home. Many sellers choose to work with an agent because they can offer guidance on pricing, incentives, and local market expectations. For assisting you with the sale, the listing agent will typically charge 5-6% commission (fee varies by location) that then gets split with the buyer’s agent. Keep in mind, there are other costs to selling your home beyond agent commissions.

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For sale by owner

With this option (often called “FSBO”), the owner manages all aspects of the sale. Because you are selling the home, you won’t need to pay a listing agent’s commission. In FSBO transactions, the seller has an asking price and can stick to that price, and it is up to the buyer to pay their agent a commission. Alternatively, the seller can negotiate the rate with the buyer’s agent. The traditional process can be stressful—showings, repairs, offers that fall through, and months of uncertainty. Generally the better condition your home is in, the more offers you will receive and the easier it is to justify the price. While this can save money, it requires more time and effort. All the paperwork and home marketing fall on the seller. You’ll need to handle tasks like listing the property online, taking high-quality photos, writing listing details, and scheduling showings. Knowledge of the local real estate market is also important to accurately price the home. For many homeowners, especially those who haven’t sold a house, saving money on the buyer’s agent fee isn’t worth the extra effort of handling all aspects of the sale.