Homesellers with an agent earned more profit, endured less stress, study shows

by Patrick Regan

Homesellers who worked with a real estate agent during the last two years made more profit, had fewer regrets and less overall stress during the process, according to a new survey from Clever Real Estate.

Those who sold their home with an agent earned $46,603 more in average profit than those who sold without an agent, the study found. The survey of 1,000 Americans who sold a home in either 2022 or 2023 found that about 79% used an agent, while 21% did not; the 21% primarily opted to sell by owner or to a company that buys homes for cash.

The survey by Clever, an agent referral network, showed that 77% of those who used an agent were satisfied with the selling process, compared to 58% of those who did not use an agent. More than half of those who did not use an agent in their home sale wished they had, the study showed.

The sellers who worked with an agent were 50% more likely to say they had no regrets compared to those who did not work with an agent. The most common regrets among those who didn’t use an agent included: 

  • They wish they received more offers (25%).
  • The house took longer to sell than they expected (23%).
  • They wish they could have negotiated more (23%).
  • They paid more in repair credits and closing costs than anticipated (23%).
  • They wish they would have waited to list their home until the market was better (23%).
  • They had one or more offers fall through (21%).

Selling a home is emotional for anyone, but the findings indicate that not working with an agent adds to the stress, at least somewhat.

About 47% of survey respondents said they cried at some point in the home-selling process. That number was slightly higher, at 50%, for those who didn’t work with an agent. Fifty-six percent of all respondents and 60% of those without an agent said the home-sale experience was stressful.

Those who opted to sell without an agent said they encountered a variety of issues, which may have added to that stress. They reported the following issues:

  • They felt overwhelmed with the sale process (52%). 
  • Buyers distrusted them because they didn’t have an agent (43%). 
  • They did not understand their contract (40%). 
  • They made legal mistakes because they didn’t use an agent (36%).

Ultimately, trust played a key role in whether sellers chose to work with an agent. 

Those surveyed reported the most distrust in real estate investors and companies that buy homes for cash. 

A percentage of homesellers considered the following untrustworthy, according to the survey:

  • Real estate investors (32%)
  • “We buy houses for cash” companies (31%)
  • Mortgage lenders (30%)
  • Discount real estate agents (27%)

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