The Dangers of Selling Real Estate Without an Agent

Buying and selling real estate can be a tricky and daunting process at the best of times. While many people look at agent commissions and the marketing initiatives associated with selling a home as a prohibitive cost, the trend established in recent years of transacting without an agent carries with it inherent risks that can cost you big time.

If you’re imaging all the money you will save and are thinking about going it alone, here are some considerations you should be aware of before disengaging with an agent, which could end up costing you significantly more in the long run.


If you decide to manage your own property transactions, you should be aware of all the elements that go into the sales and marketing mix and how long they take to put together in a cohesive manner.

  • Firstly, there’s the process of gaining a reliable valuation that you agree with and are happy to receive. Trying to value your property yourself is fraught with traps that could cost you much more than the commission you would pay an agent.
  • Next, there is listing your property and advertising it, so there is always a cost involved. Agencies have access to special rates, exclusive products and a broader reach than you can access on your own.
  • Then, if you find a buyer, there is the negotiation process, which is eminently stressful if you’re not a pro.
  • Finally, if you agree to a sale, there are the multitude of contracts and paperwork that are at best confusing and at worst an all consuming nightmare when there are non-compliance issues with legislation.


A large part of what agents do is work on cultivating relationships. The first thing people seeking to buy property do is look online, the second is contacting an agent who specialises in the area they wish to buy in.

Because of this, agents often have numerous contacts that could well be interested in your property, and if you’re attempting to sell yourself you could be missing out on countless potential buyers. 

In addition to a network of buyers, agents also have access to a network of reliable, affordable professionals who they engage regularly for things like cleaning, maintenance, repairs, styling and marketing. The chances are, sourcing these services on your own is going to cost a lot more than you’d pay if an agent organised them.


Probably one of the biggest drawbacks to selling your home privately is that you are unlikely to be able to get the same price that an agent would. In fact, stats from the US indicate that private sales, on average, achieve a significantly lower sales price. Something from 5-10% less than if otherwise handled by an agent. So, for example, where an agent might get $1.2million, a private sale would attract $1.1 million ($90,000 less).

Compare those figures to selling with an agent. In Australia, agent commissions average 2.4%. That means if the same property sells for $1.2million through an agent you are only paying $28,800 in commission. The benefit becomes quite clear when you make a side by side example.


With the market becoming more and more challenging, shopping around for an agent with a track record of success could put you much further ahead than if you decide to take a risk on by yourself.