1. A real estate agent is professionally trained to ensure that the sale of your house proceeds smoothly. When trouble arises, you agent will let you know when you need a lawyer.


2. A real estate agent can negotiate with potential buyers and their agents in your place. The agent must act on your instruction and must tell you about offers. Your real-estate agent will be particularly helpful if the potential buyer is extremely demanding.


3. A real estate agent may have a special showing of your home and limit it to other agents. Those agents will see your house with a professional eye with their clients in mind.


4. A real estate agent regularly talks to other agents. Word-of-mouth is an extremely effective way of finding buyers.


5. A real estate agent may be able to provide referrals of qualified home inspectors and contractors should your home needs additional repairs or if it needs to be brought up to code (to comply with your city's housing rules).


6. A real estate agent can help you fill out the paperwork you will need before you offer your home.

TIP: Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent

7. An experienced real estate agent can help you get your house ready for sale, point out housing-code or zoning violations, and suggest improvements to help your house sell.


8. If you try to sell your home by yourself, you might not be listed in the MLS and buyers' agents won't bring your home to their clients' attention. Also, some buyers are not comfortable about looking at your house while you're there too, because they feel inhibited about discussing things they don't like.


9. A real estate agent has access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is a database of current homes for sale. By hiring a broker, information about your home will be instantly available to agents all across your area. They can conduct searches in the MLS for potential buyers to locate properties the buyers might be interested in.


10. A real estate agent knows the real estate market in your area, has access to data about recent sales in your neighborhood, and can help you price your home accordingly.

TIP: Get Your Home Evaluated