James Johnson has been trying to sell his Colorado ghost town – a café, motel, gas station and two homes (just $350,000!) – for months without success. And it's not just because it's in the middle of nowhere that the property isn't selling. While offloading your sofa or lawnmower on your own doesn't take a lot of sales skill, working with a professional real estate agent is one of the best ways to make the most money in the shortest time when selling your home – or ghost town. Here are the top reasons why.

1. An agent may increase your profit
Many people think they'll make more money if they avoid paying an agent a commission and instead handle their own home sale, but the statistics show otherwise. According to the National Association of Realtors, selling with an agent brings in a higher profit, enough to cover the commission and then some. For one thing, a Realtor has the experience and tools to price your home appropriately. Studies show that homes priced correctly when they first hit the market sell faster, and for a better price, than those that linger with a decreasing price tag.

2. An agent can save you time
While it may take just moments to upload a Craigslist ad, handling prospective buyers, inspectors and appraisers can suck up your time. From screening out unqualified buyers to helping you prepare your home for inspections, agents drive the process more efficiently.

3. An agent often makes a better deal
You might be proud of your poker face, but are you really a savvy enough negotiator to put one of the biggest deals of your life on the line? As most buyers use a buyers' agent, you'll probably be going toe-to-toe with a professional negotiator. When you list your house through an agent, you not only get their marketing power and connections, you get a pro negotiator advocating for you during the initial offer, the counter offer and the post-offer period, which includes inspections and requests for concessions.

4. An agent can lower your risk
The potential for making mistakes (with potential legal ramifications) among the reams of paperwork involved in a home sale is huge. Agents know how to do things exactly right.

Thinking of selling your home? Or buying a tiny town on Colorado's eastern plains? Talk to an agent. Find one here.