There are of course reasons why most home owners use the services of an agent. There are a number of problems with selling your home by owner, which we will touch upon briefly here.
To begin, if you’re like most homeowners, you already have a day job. At best, you’ll only be able to work part time on the sale of their home. You probably won’t be able to spend hours and hours marketing your home to full effect, or take out minutes periodically throughout the day to deal with inquiries from buyers and agents.
You can’t be home often enough to allow for as many showings as you could if you had an agent who put a lockbox on your door, or who was there to let buyers in. This means fewer showings, and fewer showings means fewer offers, and fewer offers means a lower sales price.
What’s more, you expose yourself to greater risk going it alone than if you are working with an agent. In order to get a real estate license, most states require that agents go through a thorough background check, and most multiple listing services require that any time a buyer is on a property, they be accompanied by an agent. While a background check isn’t a 100% guarantee that someone is “safe”, it’s better than letting just anyone in your door.
You also incur additional liability selling by owner. Most real estate agents – and all the professional, reputable ones – will take care to make sure that you fulfill all your legal obligations as a seller, in particular as regards disclosures. What’s more, they should carry Errors & Omissions insurance, which you as a private individual almost surely do not. In the event that there is a dispute after the sale, you’ll be glad you have your agent and their insurance company there to help defend you against any claims.