Scoble on selling his house:
Other houses in our neighborhood have not sold as fast. The market is switching from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market but some markets remain hot. If you have a great house that the market wants it’ll pay the price. Stan knew that because he knew our market. If I tried to sell myself I probably would have just asked for Zillow’s price, which would have been a mistake. One thing I learned in the camera store I used to work at: it’s very easy to lower your price, it’s nearly impossible to raise it.
Well, let's see. He sold the house for $440k, and the cost was 6% (3% each way to agents). That comes to $26,400. Meaning, the actual clearing price to Scoble was less than $414,000. Had he sold it himself, and gotten the $414,000, he would have done marginally better. Would it have been worth his time? That I doubt, given his need to relocate.
My point? People assume that realtors are worth the money, because they assume that they get better sale value. There's actual research on this one (check out the chapter in Freakonomics), and that presumption doesn't hold up. For a realtor, selling for an extra $20k means very little, because their end of it is 3% ($600). That extra $20k would mean a lot to the seller, but it means next to nothing to the realtor.
The realtor wants to get something close to market value quickly. The actual seller might well be willing to wait for top value. Those two things don't necessarily line up. Does that mean you shouldn't use a realtor? It depends. I've always used one, simply because it was easier. Just don't assume that using a realtor means more money to you, because it probably doesn't.