Recently, a Berkeley, Calif., couple sold their home. Before they put the house on the market, several neighbors asked the sellers if they were going to use an agent. The response was: "Absolutely, this business is too complicated. I wouldn’t dream of trying to sell it myself."

Given the coveted location of this property, it might have sold without the help of an agent. Several people on the block knew of prospective buyers who might be interested. However, not having seen the property, it’s hard to know if any of these prospects would have panned out.

Even if someone did come forward and make an offer, it’s hard to know if the property could have sold for more had it been given broad exposure to the market. The sellers bought in 2007; they anticipated losing between 20 percent and 25 percent selling in 2011.

By listing the property with a full-service real estate broker, the listing benefited from an aggressive marketing campaign, including Internet exposure with a visual tour, a color brochure, newspaper advertising, multiple listing, catered open house for local real estate agents, two public open houses and a feature spot in an upper-end home-sale magazine.

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