Shortcomings of Solo Selling: Why Home-Sellers Should Think Twice Before Going-It-Alone

Selling a home is a much more complicated process than people realize, that is why using a realtor when selling a home can help sellers avoid pitfalls that can arise during the for-sale process.

According to research conducted by Zillow, 36 percent of sellers attempt to sell their homes themselves, but challenges along the way lead many of them to eventually hire a real estate agent. In the end, only 11 percent of sellers end up selling their home without a real estate agent.

Jackie Heinen, has been a licensed realtor at Edina Reality for 32 years and has become accustomed to the real estate markets rapid changes. “Agents are here to guide sellers through the whole process,” said Heinen, when unexpected fluctuation within markets inevitably happens. There are multiple benefits to hiring a real estate agent.

Fair market value

“Pricing is key,” said Emily Von Vett, an accomplished real estate agent at Edina Reality, “but even more important is market presentation and condition that meets buyers’ expectations.” Pricing strategy is a skill seasoned real estate agents will have an extensive background on and will be able to guide sellers when deciding what their home is worth. Pricing can be a slippery slope but with the right agent, sellers can quickly be educated on what price will attract the most buyer attention.


Real estate agents are paid to socialize, using contacts within their network is critical to finding the right buyers at the right time. “Knowing who is likely to have something coming on the market is a proprietary advantage,” said Von Vett. “Having an excellent agent that is going to uncover every opportunity is paramount.” Using an agent to assist in a home sale can give the sellers protection from buyers who might not be pre-qualified or looking outside their price range.

Agent Relationships

Real estate agents work on commission, therefore, it is acknowledged within the industry that a seller’s agent is more likely to show a listing to buyers that have retained an agent they’ve worked with in the past. However, money is not the only motivating factor agents use when selecting for-sale listings to present and to whom. “A solid relationship between agents forms trust and helps everyone know both parties are cooperating toward a smooth, stress-free closing,” explains Von Vett.

Cutting Edge Marketing

Effective agents go beyond flyers and for-sale signs in the front yard, they are trained to maximize exposure for their client’s home through various social media channels. “We know where the buyers are and how to get the product in front of them,” states Von Vett. Von Vett and savvy realtors similar to her, know consumers are more likely to review listings from the comfort of their current residence; therefore, supplying them with professional photos via Instagram is a sales tactic worth paying for.

A Professional Negotiator

When an offer is made on a home for sale that is when some of the hardest work beings; negotiations can be one of the most difficult and emotionally taxing processes when selling a home. “A trained professional can help take the emotion out of the sale, people forget how emotionally attached they get to their homes,” warns Heinen, “you have to have someone that can take the emotion out of it – the sale – and provide a realistic, financial standpoint.” Negotiations are one of the major pitfalls that FSBO – or For Sale by Owner – sellers don’t consider before embarking on their home selling journey, having an experienced agent take charge of negotiations and present options to the seller in a non-partial, constructive manner can help keep the path to closing clear.

They Understand the Paperwork

Ramifications for improperly disclosing details about the for-sale home can cause major roadblocks when it comes time to close; real estate agents are trained to help guide home sellers through multiple stages of paperwork to ensure they have completed all major requirements. “Putting a house on the market is one thing but selling a home that has tree roots obstructing sewer lines or water that is slow to drain can cause real problems,” said Heinen. Professional real estate agents ensure important documents such as the home’s deed, mortgage note, truth in lending statement, settlement statement, affidavits, and insurance policies will be properly completed and securely filed before sellers turn in their keys.