Credit: Kateryna -

Q-Marsha, I want to put my house on the market. I’ve been interviewing different real estate agents. I can’t believe what they charge to help sell a house! What exactly do they do to earn their commission?

A-The agents you’ve interviewed have not explained their value to you. Don’t use them. You want to hire a clear communicator. If they can’t convince you of their own worth, how will they demonstrate the market value of your house to the purchasing public? Real estate commissions are negotiable, but remember, you get what you pay for. 

As with any professional, attorneys and accountants for example, real estate agents are hired for their experience and knowledge. Realtors gain wisdom firsthand and from the shared experiences of the real estate community. Your agent will know to say, “No, do not let the buyers move in before the close of escrow.” She’ll insist your buyers get pre-approval for their loan and counsel you on how to prepare your house for sale. This guidance and expertise has significant value. 

Additionally, real estate agents perform many concrete tasks and services. Good agents know the housing market. They master the inventory. Your agent will be aware of what is currently on the market, what just sold, and what sold four-to-six months ago in your neighborhood. She’ll help you set an asking price that will entice buyers and get offers quickly. Agents know current interest rates and how rates affect housing prices. We are constantly studying buyer trends and demographics. What are the boomers and Gen Xers looking for in housing? What excites millennials? Is Gen Z thinking of purchasing yet?

One of the key places where agents add value is in finding your buyer and getting the best price possible. Without a doubt, you will get a better price with an agent than without. Agents market and promote in many different ways. This includes public open houses, as well as “caravans” for their fellow agents. Agents create websites and other media and seek ways to promote your house with search engine optimization. They follow up each showing with a call to the buyer’s agent. Realtors are always seeking ways to market their inventory of homes. Their connection to other agents in the community will maximize the number of potential buyers who will see your home.

Once an offer is presented, your agent kicks into high gear to vet the potential buyer and negotiate the best price and terms possible for you. Agents work to keep all the principal parties in the transactions compliant and in accordance with the myriad real estate ordinances and disclosures. They are educated and up to date on the latest rules, regulations, and new laws.

When you hire the right agent, your housing experience will lull you to sleep at night, not keep you awake with worry and anxiety. That peace of mind is worth every penny.

Marsha Gray has worked in Santa Barbara real estate for over 25 years. She works at Allyn & Associates, where she helps her clients buy and sell homes and with lending services. To read more of Marsha’s Q&A articles, visit Contact Marsha at (805) 252-7093 or DRE# 012102130; NMLS #1982164.


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