Is a Local Real Estate Agent Right for You?

If you’re making the choice to sell your home, you are likely deciding between selling on your own or hiring a real estate agent. When selling your own home, more commonly known as For Sale By Owner (FSBO), you will be weighing the decision of saving money versus the anxiety of making a costly mistake. Fortunately, there is a new, commission-free option, that might just be the perfect solution. It is using a remote, full-service agent to professionally represent you with selling your house. 

It’s a tall task to sell a home without having an agent take care of all the details and make sure the legal requirements are met. Selling alone might save you money, but there are other factors like getting the best price, the right terms, handling the time-consuming details, and the inherent risks associated with legal disclosures and contract disputes. Because of these issues, 92% of home sellers hire a full fee, full-service agent to represent them. 

Saving sales commissions is a good reason to sell a home on your own, but agents will argue that while they charge more, they also net you more money. The point is debatable, but here are some of the benefits of using an agent to represent you. 

Typical tasks and services an agent performs include: 

  • Get more exposure for your property
  • Help you negotiate the best price and terms
  • Handle the dozens of pages of required legal paperwork and disclosures 
  • Manage contingency removals, contract disputes, and the details of escrow and title 
  • Mitigate risk 

With this information, it is safe to say that there are advantages to having an agent in your corner, but that isn’t the real question. The real question is, is it better to have a local agent vs a remote full-service agent, and what is the difference?

Real Estate Agent

WHAT IS A REMOTE FULL-SERVICE AGENT?

Much like a local agent, a remote full-service real estate agent performs the same tasks and duties of a local agent. They are licensed real estate agents who can help buy or sell homes just like any local agent. The only difference is that remote full-service agents handle the details from a remote location and typically charge a low set fee vs a big commission based on the price of the home. 

Today, more and more home sellers are using a commission-free, remote full-service agent to get to sell their home without giving up the full-service representation, and massive exposure of using a commission-based, local agent. 

ASSESSMENT OF HOME VALUE AND LOCAL MARKET

Traditionally, the first step a seller's agent provides is an in-home consultation with a comparative market analysis (CMA) for the owner. A CMA is an estimate of a home's value based on recently sold, similar properties in the immediate area. We are seeing that more local agents are determining value from data online. This online data is readily available to all agents with access to software and the regional MLS. With a little feedback from the homeowner, both local and remote agents can provide highly accurate information about your property and nearby properties with a couple of clicks. The only difference is that a remote agent typically does this over a video or phone call instead of going to the house. 

MASSIVE EXPOSURE

After deciding your property value, the next step an agent takes is getting your home exposed to buyers. Selling your home yourself would limit your home’s exposure to free websites such as Zillow, while local and remote agents can list your home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is a gateway for all real estate agents to see the listings in any particular area. A remote agent exposes the property to the same agents and the same potential buyers as a local, full-fee agent. Local agents will claim to have local clientele that they can immediately show the home to, however, remote agents will still be able to offer the property to those same buyers as their agent will be searching the MLS. The exposure is the same whether listed by a remote agent or a local agent. 

OPEN HOUSE

Open houses are a great way to market the home and invite potential buyers to see the home. A local agent can host open houses for a seller, but local Covid restrictions currently prohibit the hosting of open houses. While open houses are a great way to market the home, data shows that only 4% of houses sell as a result of an open house.  Additionally, since Covid restrictions were implemented we have still seen houses selling at a record pace. Because of this, we are learning that showing by appointment only with qualified buyers is a more efficient way to sell your home. Both remote and local agents have the resources to coordinate appointment showings, as well as, provide Bluetooth lockboxes that allow sellers the ability to grant access to agents while they are away from the home. 

NEGOTIATION & LEGAL PAPERWORK

An agent is most valued once an offer or multiple offers have been submitted. A real estate agent, both local and remote will help you navigate the process of negotiating and evaluating offers. Additionally, both remote and local full-service agents will handle the paperwork, legal disclosure, contingency removals, contract disputes, and the details of escrow and title for you. In this case, a remote agent is probably more experienced as they tend to close more transactions in a month than a typical, local agent negotiates in a year or two. 

IS IT BETTER TO HIRE A REMOTE FULL-SERVICE AGENT TO SELL MY HOME?

A remote full-service agent that charges a low set fee at the close of escrow and a local agent that charges a big commission provide the same local exposure and representation. Both agents will fully represent the seller in the negotiations, plus, handle the paperwork, legal disclosures, contingency removals, contract disputes, and details of escrow and title. The only thing a remote agent cannot do that a local agent can do is go to the house. The fact is that most agents, after the initial meeting, put a Bluetooth lockbox on the home so the home can be accessed by authorized people without having to be at the house. Based on a median home price in California of $758,990, the average savings of using a remote, full-service agent versus a local full-fee agent is $16,025. If you need someone to be at the house for showings or to provide access for inspectors, appraisers, and local agents then a local agent is the only option. Otherwise, a remote, full-service agent is the best choice. 

WHAT IS THE EVERHOME WAY?

Everhome is the leading remote full-service agency in California. Everhome gives each homeowner a team of professionals that work together to get your home sold fast and for top dollar. Your team will handle the complex details of negotiations, paperwork, legal disclosures, contingency removals, contract disputes, and the details of escrow and title. The team includes a dedicated marketing specialist, a listing coordinator, a seller representative (professional negotiator), and a compliance manager to handle the legal documents and disclosures. We even provide free legal consultations with one of our risk management lawyers if needed before, during, or after the transaction. No need to pay 5-6% of the sale price of your home, when you can get the same exposure and representation for a low set fee of just $3950. 

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