Whether you’re looking to buy a home or plan on selling one, both sides of the fence can find great value in working with a skilled real estate agent. Obviously buyers and sellers exist in opposition to what each wants out of a home transaction—one wants to get an awesome deal on a property, while the other wants to land the highest bid—but they both still have a common goal. They both want a sale.
Regardless of which side you’re on, you can benefit greatly from hiring a real estate agent to assist you in either your home buying or selling process. Believe it or not, real estate agents are there to help you succeed. Here are the top 5 reasons you should hire a real estate agent.
1. A Real Estate Agent Can Save You More Money and Make You More Money
Selling: The small number of people who choose to sell their property on their own—FSBO (for sale by owner)—do so because they honestly believe they will save themselves time and money. FSBO’s want to avoid paying commissions to an agent, so will often try to sell their house on their own before trying an agent.
The problem with this is that FSBO’s don’t have access to the contacts and marketplace like real estate agents do. They also don’t realize that selling properties is a full time gig, and most often doesn’t save them any time at all to sell on their own. When it comes to commissions, real estate agents typically make around 6 percent commission (this percentage varies state-to-state), but they make up for that because studies show that agents can help you get up to 33 percent more for your property than you can on your own (according to the NAR).
Out of all real estate sales that take place, only 11 percent of “for sale by owner” transactions are successful, with the remaining 89 percent of sales happening successfully through real estate agents. That data alone should be enough to push you toward using an agent, but if you still need more convincing, keep in mind that you’ll still pay commission during a transaction in most cases because your buyer is almost always using an agent.
Buying: If you’re looking for your dream home or next investment property, remember that buying is not always about spending money. It’s also about saving money. Real estate agents have access to the entire property marketplace and have contacts you’ve never even dreamed about. Real estate agents have access to listings before they’re even made public, which means you could have first dibs on the next awesome deal.
Additionally, with a real estate agent going to bat for you during a transaction, you can negotiate the price of the property, as well as the inspection and closing costs. Your agent can point you in the right direction when it comes to getting deals on your inspection, and put you in contact with a lender that works for your needs.
2. A Real Estate Agent Can Handle Legal Paperwork For You
There’s a lot of legal paperwork involved in buying or selling a property, and even the smartest person can find themselves in hot water if it’s all not handled properly. Purchase agreements alone can hit upwards of 10 pages, not to mention federal, state, and local document requirements that are also included in that.
A real estate agent is trained and knowledgeable when it comes to handling all legal paperwork involved in the purchase or sale of your property. Don’t risk making a mistake. Believe it or not, one small mistake or omission in the paperwork can cost you as much as that commission you were trying to avoid paying—or even far more.
For example, if you’re selling your home on your own, failure to give your buyer certain paperwork can leave you open to a hefty lawsuit. As a buyer, you might find yourself in the middle of a purchase that’s contingent upon the seller securing another home, however, your contract leaves you no escape hatch if you don’t get approved for your loan. What a mess!
3. A Real Estate Agent Has Your Best Interests At Heart
Your real estate agent has what’s called “fiduciary” responsibility to you, which means they are legally obligated to keep your best interests at heart. Besides the fact that keeping you happy is in their best interest financially speaking, they are legally obligated to keep your confidence and find the solutions that are best for you as their client.
As a buyer, do you really want to hand over your personal financial information over to a FSBO seller you don’t even know, and who is under no legal obligation to keep your private information confidential? The same thing goes for FSBO sellers handing over information to a buyer’s agent. Your own agent would know whether any information the other agent is requesting from you is reasonable.
If there is any misconduct involving an agent, you have recourse available to you. You can report it to the agent’s professional association, such as the National Association of Realtors.
4. A Real Estate Agent Knows What to Look For
As a buyer, you probably already have a vision of what you might consider the perfect next home for you and your family. You’ve likely done research online and have determined how many rooms, bathrooms, and what size lawn you’re looking to buy. You might have no issue keeping that vision in the back of your mind while you visit open houses.
But hiring a real estate agent means that they will be on the lookout for things you never considered. A real estate agent has your best interests at heart, and will be able to spot such issues as furnace issues, leaks, roofing problems, and mold and insect issues.
As a seller, you’ve probably already decided exactly how much you want for your property, but is that price reasonable? You might have looked at other homes in your area for comparable sales, but remember that this might not actually be the right number for your home.
Real estate agents can do market analysis in their sleep in most cases, and they know how to factor in all the specifics of your home, including any upgrades you’ve put into it. Additionally, your agent knows how to conduct research on other pricing factors such as reputable data regarding a neighborhood’s demographics, crime rates, schools, and other important factors.
5. Agents Are Highly Skilled Negotiators
Whether you’re selling or buying, remember that your agent has a fiduciary obligation to get you the best possible price on your home, or to help you get the best possible deal on a property you’re trying to buy.
Real estate agents are trained to sell and negotiate. They have the latest information on the market, and work with home inspectors, builders, and other agents every single day. Information is power when it comes to negotiating in real estate, and that’s something you typically won’t have available at the ready. Most importantly, your agent doesn’t have any emotional stake in the game that might cloud their thinking when it comes to negotiations.
As stated earlier, remember that studies indicate that real estate agents have been able to consistently get up to 33 percent more for properties than for sale by owners, and they consistently save buyers thousands at closing because they know what they are doing.
They are working in this market every day to help you, so if you’re planning on buying or selling a home, you might want to reconsider getting an agent if you don’t have one already. Not doing so might mean you’ll regret it!