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Buying & Selling a Home

Should I Hire a Real Estate Agent or Sell My House Myself

This is one of the 21 tough financial questions posed in the “Do This or That?” cover story in the September 2011 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Use the drop-down menu above to consider other financial conundrums and the right answers for you; share your own experiences and insights in the Discuss field at the bottom of this page.

Hire an agent if you’ve never sold a home before and your market is highly competitive. In 2010, the average commission nationally was 5.4%, according to Real Trends, but the best agents are sometimes able to command the traditional 6%. That pays both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent.

Sell it yourself if you have the time and energy to market and show your home. To ensure success, advertise your for-sale-by-owner home on a multiple listing service. For $395, Owners.com will post your home on the local MLS as well as on Realtor.com. To entice buyers’ agents to bring their clients, advertise a 2% to 3% commission.

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