It can be difficult to say whether homeowners need a listing agent to sell their properties.
While Florida law doesn't require property owners to engage the services of a real estate agent to complete the sale of a home, listing agents offer a significant advantage depending on the location and condition of the property.
Benefits of a Real Estate Seller’s Agent in Florida
Although you may legally sell your home, there's a lot of work involved, and no guarantee you'll be able to get the best price.
Real estate agents may charge hefty commissions, but since they're paid with a percentage of the sale price, it's in their best interest to help you get as much as possible for the property.
Before you put an ad in the paper or list your property on a home-buying website, consider what you may gain from a real estate agent's:
- Knowledge. You know what you originally paid, and you know your improvement costs, but only a real estate professional will know the market value of your home. An unrealistically high asking price may leave your home unsold for months, while underpricing your home can deprive you decades’ worth of assets. A real estate agent can calculate your home’s value and current market trends, and price according to competing listings in your neighborhood. When it comes time to sell, the agent will be responsible for drafting all transfer documents in accordance with Florida laws.
- Marketing plan. While some properties may sell with little marketing, others need a more strategic approach to attract buyers. This includes reaching out to potential buyers through media they are likely to use. Younger families often find starter homes using apps and internet searches, while some buyers rely on newspaper listings. An agent should be willing to take high-quality photos or video walkthroughs for the listing, as well as write a detailed summary of the property that sparks buyers' interest.
- Time and effort. Listing agents are responsible for making your home look attractive to buyers, including staging the property to show its potential and showing the house to prospects. The agent also chooses which prospects to allow to tour the property—such as those who already have loan offers in place—ensuring you only have serious buyers visiting your home.
- Negotiation skills. A good real estate agent is familiar with tiny details that make a big difference when negotiating price. As your agent, he or she knows when it's cheaper to make repairs to a defect or adjust the asking price, and will work to ensure the maximum amount of profit for you.
It May Make More Sense to Hire a Real Estate Attorney for Your Transaction
There are numerous differences between real estate lawyers and agents, and many people choose to involve both in the process. However, there are many instances where legal protection is a major benefit to sellers.
For example, selling a home with known defects in “as is” condition can open a seller up to potential legal action in the future. Some people get into the later stages of a sale before discovering there's an encumbrance on the home. This additional financial burden may stall or sink the transaction.
Even if you love your real estate broker, he or she isn't an attorney. In fact, real estate agents aren't even permitted to answer legal questions posed by their clients—which is extremely problematic given how often legal questions arise during a sale. In addition, while real estate agents can draft sales documents that are legally binding, they aren't necessarily structured to give the seller legal protection. Only a real estate attorney can protect you both legally and financially throughout the process.
Selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions you will make. We make the process easier for you by offering guidance in our free book, Top 7 Tips for Selling Your Florida Home. Order your copy today!
If you have further questions or concerns, please complete our contact form so you can move forward with peace of mind.