5 (Smart!) Reasons You Don’t Need A Seller’s Agent To Sell Your Home

Photo: AboutLife/Shutterstock
family running outside of a house

Is it possible to sell your own home without a seller's agent?

My husband and I had been looking for our forever house for over two years. We traveled thousands of miles through different states until we found our Shangri-La.

As excited as we were about our future, the most immediate thing we needed to take care of was our past: Selling our old home.

We interviewed two "full service" agents, who charged a three percent commission, and one discount agent, who would give the buyer’s agent three percent of our sales price and charge us $1,500 for his services.

Every agent we met presented us with their "proven formula for success" and promised they’d get us "the best price" for our home.

When it came time to choose a seller's agent, my husband said, "Why don’t we just do it ourselves?"

After calculating all the money that would go to real-estate commissions, we decided to do some research and list our home ourselves with the assistance of a very low-cost service that would place our home in the MLS for $160.

In nine days, we had six showings and three offers. By day 10, our house was sold. We saved an incredible amount of money — and hassle — by not hiring a seller’s agent.

Is a seller’s agent always a good idea? For some, yes.

If you’re not open to answering every phone call, then you should have a seller’s agent because there will be lots of phone calls.

Of course, there are other things to do beyond answering your phone to sell a house, but let’s face it: Everything starts with that first phone call.

RELATED: 7 Moving Tips For Organized & Simple Relocation

That said, here are 5 reasons you don’t need a seller’s agent to sell your home.

1. You will save at least three percent on the agent's commissions.

When selling a home, it’s customary for the seller to pay both the selling agent’s commission as well as the buying agent’s commission.

By eliminating the seller’s commission on a $300,000 home, you will save $9,000.

2. You can name the percentage you’ll pay a buyer’s agent.

While a three percent buyer's agent commission is typical, you don't have to give them that much.

Don't be cheap though because you will want to offer something to a buyer’s agent to help drive traffic to your listing.

Offering two percent as an additional cost-cutting measure on a $300,000 sale will save you an additional $3,000.

3. A seller’s agent will strongly encourage you to homogenize your home into looking like everything else on the market.

Remember, real estate agents aren’t interior designers. Most have no formal training on the subject.

Each selling agent we met with wanted us to remodel our traditional home to a "modern farmhouse." If we followed their advice, nothing would have made our house stand out from the rest of the homes for sale.

In essence, it would be like looking at 10 pairs of white tennis shoes on a shelf and having to pick a favorite.

They wanted us to paint our gorgeous paneling in our living room "white or grey" because those colors are "the trend."

Next, they wanted us to paint our eclectic red office "off-white" because "more buyers will be attracted to a neutral pallet." The list of suggestions seemed endless.

Some agents said our front yard looked "dated... Those bushes look 40 years old... I’d get rid of that bench... Those roses should be pulled out."

When I told the agents our home had won "Yard Of The Month” three times, each one looked dumbfounded. We were even told to tear out the deck in the backyard because "buyers would think it will attract termites."

All of the recommended work would have cost us over $5,000 and taken us at least a month to complete. Also, the delay would have put us in a fall housing market where homes typically take longer to sell and for less money.

The paneling we were advised to paint white or gray because "buyers prefer neutral colors."

The room each agent insisted "must be painted" because "no one likes red."

The "dated" front yard:

And to show you that I’m telling you the truth about winning "Yard of the Month."

RELATED: 7 House-Hunting Tips For Couples Searching For Their First Home Together

4. A seller’s agent will freely and unnecessarily spend your money.

Most people decorate to their taste when they buy a home. When you spend thousands on trendy updates, you may alienate buyers whose furniture doesn’t match what you’ve turned your home into.

Something the majority of sellers agents don’t seem to understand is: Not everyone likes the same thing.

Two agents recommend we put half of our belongings into storage "so people can imagine what their furniture will look like in your home."

I thought to myself, "You want us to hire someone to move half our things into storage and then pay to move it again?"

Are these people crazy?

Some agents even suggest you move all your belongings out and hire a stager to rent furniture and stage your home to their taste — at a minimum cost of $1,500.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

See how easy it is to spend someone else’s money? This money doesn’t come out of your agent’s pocket, it comes out of yours.

Following everyone's advice, we'd spend $5,000 in remodeling a house we would soon move from and at least another $1,000 moving stuff into storage.

If we hired a stager, we’d be out another $1,500. Last, let’s not forget that $500 to spruce up the garden.

In total — before hitting the market — our costs would be at least $8,000.

After "getting our house ready for the market," we'd still have to cough up $18,000 in agents commissions selling the traditional way.

Now, we have a total of $26,000 in expenses and that doesn't include other expenses, such as home warranties, taxes, and repairs a buyer may request.

The home you were so proud of as it gained equity to reach the $300,000 mark will now only give you $274,000 to purchase a new home with.

The takeaway is: Don’t let other people spend your money.

My husband and I created a sign, made our own fliers, bought a brochure box for the front yard, and paid for a service to list our home in the MLS for $160.

Our total out-of-pocket expense to sell our home came to $7,910 and this included $500 for an attorney to review our sale paperwork.

5. You can do anything a seller's agent can.

When it comes to fielding phone calls and showing your home, a seller’s agent doesn’t do anything you can’t do yourself.

Ever called a real-estate listing and reached the agent's voicemail? We did.

Sometimes, it took hours to get a call back. Sometimes, assistants called us. Sometimes, we didn’t hear back at all.

Home buying is an emotional experience.

When buyers want to see a home they’re interested in, they want to see it as quickly as possible — not two days from now.

Picking up the phone and arranging showings at convenient times for your buyers is one of the best ways to expedite the sale of your home.

Yes, you will receive a lot of phone calls but, let me ask you this: Would you answer 25 phone calls for $9,000? Most people would find this worthwhile.

RELATED: Family Of 8 In A Tiny House: How Downsizing Created Our American Dream

Christina Steinorth-Powell is a Licensed Psychotherapist in Private Practice and a Board Certified Diplomate of professional counseling (IAMBCP). For more information, visit her website.