What to Expect When Selling Your Seattle-Area Property With a Real Estate Agent

What To Know When You Hire A Listing Agent In Seattle
Need to know what to expect when selling with an agent? “I want all my clients to be fully informed about what to expect when they hire a real estate agent to help them sell their home.” – Emily Cressey

Are you working with a local Seattle agent to sell your house? Or maybe you’re thinking about it? If so, you’re probably wondering what to expect when selling with an agent. We’ve collected the top 4 things you need to know so you can understand how a real estate agent can help you sell your home – so you navigate this process easily!

There are many ways to sell your house and many people choose to work with an agent to help them during that process. If you’ve never sold a property before, or even if it’s just been a while… you may be surprised how much the process has changed due to technology and the supply and demand in the marketplace. Do you plan to work with an agent? If so, here are 4 things you can expect when selling with a real estate agent in Seattle…

4 Things To Expect When Selling With An Agent

#1. Money – It Takes Money To Make Money

A real estate agent is a professional contractor or consultant who performs a service for your benefit. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, and yet many people are surprised when they learn that the agent charges a commission for her services… and this commission can be thousands of dollars in some situations! For some people, that’s okay because they want the benefits that an agent provides, but it can be a costly surprise if you’re not prepared. (When you were buying a home, you probably didn’t pay your agent directly because the real estate agent commissions are typically paid by the seller.)

When you meet with your real estate agent to discuss listing your home for sale (this is called a “listing appointment”), she will explain the services she offers and the commission structure necessary to compensate her and the other agent(s) involved in the deal. In addition to compensating the agent for her time with you, and her time maintaining her expertise in the marketplace, the commission you pay helps defray expenses from marketing, licensing fees, MLS services, contracts/paperwork, and negotiating expertise. Typically you will not have to write a check upfront, the agent is only paid upon the successful closing of your deal from the funds brought by the buyer, and she receives her payment at the same time you do – when the house is sold!

Working With A Seattle Real Estate Agent Can Help You Sell Your Home Faster
When time is of the essence and you want to sell your Seattle-area property fast, list your home with real estate agent Emily Cressey.

#2. Time Is Money

You probably want to sell your house as quickly as possible. An agent wants that, too. What to expect when selling with an agent in terms of time frame can vary. By looking at a statistic called “Days On Market” – your real estate agent can tell you the average number of days similar homes “For Sale” on the MLS were available before going under contract. However, getting the deal “sold” on paper is just the first step. After that, the sales contract will spell out how many days a buyer has to do inspections and get financing in place. Typically a closing will happen 30-60 days after a house goes under contract. You will know when you sign a purchase contract with the buyer how many days he has to do his research, release his contingencies and complete the transaction.

However, an agent is at the mercy of what buyers want… and your real estate agent will work hard to find a buyer for your house, but they can’t always guarantee that your house will be sold within a certain time frame. Typically, the higher the price you want for your home, compared to other comparable properties in the market, the slower it will move.

The biggest reason homes stagnate on the market is that they are overpriced. To maximize your profits, you need to be sure the home shows very well, is marketed very well, and is priced appropriately. Buying a home is an emotional decisions for most sellers, so having a home that is appealing is an important part of the process.

Compressing the time frame for a distressed sale: If you need to sell in a certain time frame, the fastest way is to drop the price and sell to a cash buyer. We do offer this service, which is most often attractive to people in a tight situation due to death, divorce or financial concerns, or who have a property that is more apt to appeal to an investor due to the need for extensive renovations. To sell is to skip an agent and sell your house fast, just let us buy your house directly. Call us at (206) 578-3438 to learn more about this service.

#3. Showing Properties To Buyers

What to expect when selling with an agent in terms of showing your property: In order for a real estate agent to find the right buyer for your home, she has to show it to people. Although much can now be done online via photos and video tours, most buyers will still want to walk through the house and decide for themselves if it’s the right place for them.

Therefore, if you work with a real estate agent, you should expect the agent to arrange showings with buyers – which means you may need to leave your house while buyers walk through it. It can make buyers very uncomfortable to know the seller is “somewhere in the property” or worse – looming over them keeping an eye on things – when they are trying to evaluate the home. If you have already moved and the property is vacant, this is no problem, but if you are still living in the home, trying to pack and get ready to move, it can be a hassle. If you have kids you have to cook for and clean up after, this can add a lot of work.

Sometimes your agent will schedule an open house to try to help you concentrate many of the interested buyers in the market to come to one big appointment on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. However, not every buyer will attend open houses, and you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for additional buyers to see the home when they are ready to take action.

#4. Unknowns – The Only Thing That’s Certain is Uncertainty

What to expect when selling with an agent: Will there be problems when dealing with a real estate agent during a real estate transaction? Most likely, yes! – some problems will arise, the question is how will you and your real estate agent handle them?

Agents provide a great service but the truth is – even the best real estate agents in Seattle can’t control the process 100%.

There are many unknowns that will influence the sale of your house.

These unknowns include:

  • The number of other sellers selling similar houses
  • The number of buyers who want to buy
  • The number of banks willing to lend money for mortgages
  • The state of the economy in the city, within the state of WA, and in the country as a whole.

Therefore, you may want to sell right now at a certain price, and the agent will do their best to help you meet your goals, but if you overprice your property, you may find it doesn’t sell in a timely manner and you may be forced to lower price in response to market forces.

After you are under contract, there are frequently problems and things that need to be renegotiated and fixed.

Potential problems while under contract are:

  • Buyers have difficulty getting their financing lined up
  • Buyers find “problems” on the home inspection report and want to renegotiate
  • Sellers may find a lien or encumbrance on title that needs to be addressed
  • Buyers want to sell their old home before they close on the deal with you
  • The property is damaged by a storm, an appliance stops working or something else goes “wrong” in the house before the closing.

Because these types of glitches in the home sale process are so common, the manner in which they will be addressed is usually spelled out in the purchase and sale contract. These issues can be a hassle, but that’s why your real estate agent has a team of professionals whose job it is to help you fix these problems so you can still get your property sold in a satisfactory manner.

When An Agent Might NOT Be The Right Choice

What to expect when selling your home with an agent – is it ever NOT a good idea to use an agent? Yes!

A certain percentage of people find that working with a real estate agent is not a good choice for them.

  • Fast Cash Needed: If you do not have the TIME to work with a buyer who is going to line up bank financing (need to sell prior to 60-90 days)
  • House lacks curb appeal: If your house is in poor condition due to deferred maintenance, you can fix it up and get top dollar, or you can sell it to an investor (for less…) and he will fix it up and add his profit margin on top.
  • Convenience/Hassle Factor: If you are dealing with difficult personal circumstances, such as selling due to a divorce, death/probate, transition to a nursing home/etc. sometimes it is worth selling for a lower price so you do not have to clean or show the home and you can just get the property handled ASAP.
  • Not Enough Equity: The last time the real estate took a big dip, we saw property values go down across the country and many people found they owed more on their mortgage9s) than their home was worth. If they were unable to make the house payments due to job loss, medical bills, etc., it was very difficult to sell the property. In order to avoid a foreclosure, a short sale was often the only option. this is where you negotiate with the bank to take less than what is owed on the mortgage. Usually the cost to sell your home is around 10%, so if you don’t have at least 10% equity listing with a real estate agent may not be the right choice. Call me anyway and we can talk about what options you DO still have.

As a real estate agent and investor myself, I work with many investors who do rehabs, and I sometimes buy investment property myself. When we meet, I am happy to discuss the pros and cons of marketing your property on the MLS or selling to an investor (maybe even me!). may consider selling your home as-is to an investor who can buy all-cash, or with owner financing, and help get the The majority of buyers agents work with are would-be home owners who are looking for a beautiful home. If

If your home is in poor condition, you need cash quickly, are facing foreclosure or dealing with a probate, you may want to talk to an investor about buying your property. (We do offer this service, separate from listing your home as an agent. Click here for more information about how we buy houses.)


Selling your house can seem daunting, which is why many people choose to work with a real estate agent. Knowing what to expect when selling your house with a real estate agent can make it easier for you to be a prepared and knowledgable consumer who partners with your agent for the maximum success in the sale of your home. If that’s how you want to sell your house, make sure you know these 4 things you need to expect when selling with an agent in Seattle.

At HomePro Associates, we also buy houses! If you still want an offer from us, or if you want to meet an agent that we recommend, click here now and fill out the form or call our team at (206) 578-3438

Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate broker residing in Lake Forest Park, WA who services the Greater Seattle area including Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Bothell and Edmonds, WA.

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Selling through an agent? Make sure you know these 4 things you need to expect when selling with an agent.