A qualified, experienced and reliable Real Estate Agent can often be the difference between selling your home quickly for top dollar or not.  However, I will be the first to tell you that not all Real Estate Agents are created equal.


So what is involved?  What do you need to know?  Hard how can it be?

What Tasks Are Involved in Selling a Home?

The closer you look, the more little tasks are revealed as crucial in preparing, marketing, and successfully selling your home. The most important tasks that a real estate agent will normally perform for you include:

  • evaluating the local market and comparable home values
  • suggesting an appropriate listing price (You still make the final decision)
  • advising you on how best to present your home, including providing referrals to painters, repair persons, and more
  • helping coordinate preparation of disclosure and other needed forms and documents
  • creating advertising materials and arranging for photographs (interior and exterior, hopefully done by a professional) and possibly an exterior drawing of your home
  • placing ads on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and in other media, and sending out postcards to potentially interested buyers on the agent’s mailing list
  • arranging for individual visits to the property — most likely by providing a lockbox for use by other realtors, and meeting with individuals who don’t yet have their own agent
  • answering questions and providing documents such as disclosure packets to potentially interested buyers and their agents
  • holding one or more open houses, possibly including weekday open houses for other real estate brokers to visit and weekend open houses for the public (which itself involves many tasks, such as arranging for and putting out signs in advance, and providing food for the broker’s open houses, as is traditional in some areas)
  • receiving offers to buy your house, whether via email/mail or in person if other agents wish to formally present their offers
  • helping you evaluate the strength of each offer and strategize on issues like whether to accept or reject an offer outright or make a counteroffer, and whether to also look for or arrange a backup offer.
  • negotiate with the buyer’s agent until the purchase contract is complete (although this task may fall more to an attorney in states where legal help is required)
  • coordinate with the buyer’s agent throughout the escrow period, helping to make the house available for inspections and appraisals and make sure you’re doing your part to close the deal
  • help you strategize over requests made while in escrow, such as for a reduction in purchase price due to repair issues revealed in the inspection, and negotiating such issues with the buyer’s agent (unless any attorneys are still involved), and
  • attend the closing.


Sound like a lot?

Indeed, it can be a full-time, nights and weekends job in the days and weeks while your house is on the market. And, as any experienced agent will tell you, it’s not all glamorous. Some have been known to get out a mop and give a house a last scrubbing before the open house (but don’t count on this!) or drag their own furniture over if it will make the house look better.

Selling your home – Who else do I need?

No law requires you to hire a real estate agent when you sell a house. Some states, however, require a real estate attorney to handle the transfer documents and closing. Check with your state department of real estate to find out whether an attorney is required in your state.

Hiring a Real Estate Agent

You should find an individual who is a FULL-TIME agent and who does this as their full-time career. They should have past client references, insider knowledge of the local purchase market, and have a large network of local Real Estate Agents they work with. They should be a natural negotiator who is willing to do whatever it takes to help you sell your home.


Try to avoid the “part time soccer parent” who is looking for a little extra money or your friend who just got their real estate license.  They should have an employer who lets them help on other transactions to gain their experience, so this is not your responsibility.  You don’t want your experience to be hindered in any way because of their lack of experience.  Although you may want to help them get their feet wet in their newly elected profession, this is a mistake many people regret making. 


For advice on hiring a real estate agent and all other aspects of selling your home contact The Real Estate Exchange and we can get you started in the right direction.


John E Neal II has been helping people with their real estate and mortgage needs for over 20 years. Anyone who has questions or needs to get prequalified for a mortgage with no overlays on ANY type of loan can contact the author, John E Neal II, at 312-235-6453 or email at jneal@myrealestate.exchange. He is available 7 days a week, evenings, weekends, and holidays.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.