GREAT QUESTION posed to me by a potential client yesterday.
You had your home on the market, all the local agents know it, they may even trust you will pay a commission. So agents have new buyers in pocket, ones that may like your home. Why don't they call you to show it?
1. Apathy. It's harder to sell an unlisted home (most times).
2. Safety. As an unrepresented seller, you will want to stay in your home when it is shown because there is no written protocol for your home and belongings (what happens if a nice watch goes missing?). Showing a home with the seller present feels like having a date at your mother's house; it feels awkward.
3. No written price. I have, at least 5 times in my career, had an unlisted seller give me a price and permission to show their home only for me to show up and sell it and have the seller change the price (UP!). If sellers get their asking price easily, they ALWAYS think it was too low and the salesperson sleazy.
4. No agreed commission or protection of commission. This is a little more rare, but, in the case of a high end home especially, when the seller meets the buyer, they feel the agent is no longer necessary and may try to do the deal without any professional help (unadvisable, in my opinion).
5. You have to deal directly with the seller :) All due respect to all customers, because I have been one, but when you sell your own house you ALWAYS get emotional. Additionally, things that agents know as industry standards are oftentimes hard for unlicensed folks to understand. For example, most sellers don't understand why they need to pay for Title insurance at closing.
Selling your home off the market can and does work occasionally. But if you need to find a buyer (i.e. you don't know one already) the real estate system works :)
I hope you found this helpful! Happy home selling.