If you look at available records, you will find that the majority of home sales became possible through a real estate agent or Realtor. These are intermediaries who make money by receiving about a 3-percent commission of the overall sale price (or thereabouts). And considering the selling prices of houses, the commission isn’t exactly peanuts. This often leaves people wondering whether it is at all practical to buy a house using a Realtor or if they can go through it without one.
Let’s take a glimpse of how having a real estate agent can work in your favor.
1. Better Access, Better Knowledge, More experience
A real estate agent would have easy access to properties that other agents have recently listed.
This is one of the privileges you can avail of when you hire a real estate agent to help you buy a new home. This access provides you an inside track on new homes as they become available and allows you the first opportunities to view them and make an offer. A professional buying agent will work for you full time to find homes and properties that suit your specifications. He will also schedule appointments for you to look and inspect the homes that primarily catch your eye.
Another advantage is knowing and understanding the real selling prices for other homes in the same neighborhood that are similar in size, features, and amenities. An agent can easily do some calculations for you and show you whether a property you’re looking at is overpriced. Even if you’re willing to pay the listed price, you might not be able to get the same value when you apply for a mortgage. Of course, you can do that on your own, but imagine the time it would take and the possibility of coming up with an inaccurate computation. For an assurance that indeed the listed price is the accurate price, it’s far better to get the help of a realtor.
If you’re selling your home, a real estate agent can work with you so that you get the best possible price for your house given its present condition and location. A realtor comes in with an understanding of the current housing market and the desired neighborhood in your area. This will make selling your home a smooth and efficient process.
A veteran real estate agent would know the things to look at in a house so that it’s easy for him to spot issues with a potential home that an inexperienced buyer may not notice. Even if they review the home evaluation thoroughly, they will still physically observe the house for themselves.
In case a potential house needs some fixing, your real estate agent can help in the negotiation. Normally, the agent will ask the seller to repair the issue as a part of the agreement or lower the price to free up some of the new owner’s budget they can use for future renovations.
Without an experienced realtor by your side, you may not detect problems like these, or your negotiating skills may not be enough to get your desired outcome. Since you have a vested interest in the home, your emotions may get the better of you. An independent representative would be able to balance everything.
You may think of yourself as extremely level-headed, but when it comes to buying your own home, the whole thing can overwhelm and excite you such that your judgment may become clouded. Not so the real estate agent. Since he is emotionally detached to the process, he can make the home and also mortgage negotiation a more cerebral process. In the end, you may likely get what you want, and even more significantly, what you deserve.
3. Time Is Money
Agents can filter your property showings and visits so that you can focus only on the potentially good listings. Your agent will be like your bodyguard who has his sword out to keep the builder’s agents at arm’s length so that they can’t bite or nip at your heels. If you’re selling your house, your agent will screen all those phone calls and take out the ones that lead to nowhere and retain the serious buyers so they can make a good offer immediately.
If you’re taking care of a family, a job, and other things, buying or selling a house may demand too much time from you (which you may not have). This is where the real estate agent becomes really helpful. He will have the time to gather marketing materials, hold open houses, look for homes that match your criteria and a lot of other tasks. This will save you time in the short term and in the long haul.
On top of this, if you’ve bought a new house before you’re able to sell your old one and took a loan for it, you’ll be paying interest. A realtor who can sell the house in the quickest time possible would eventually save you a lot of interest cost.
4. Paperwork Preparation
You should know that a purchase agreement is a legal document that runs for ten pages or more, with a very generous serving of legal terms in wordy paragraphs. And there’s also the federal and state-mandated disclosures and disclosures as the local custom requires. The dangerous thing is, any tiny mistake, error or omission could expose you to a lawsuit or cost you thousands of dollars.
Here’s the thing: all the paperwork about the purchase or sale of your home could fill up an entire shelf. Imagine all the documents you should keep, all the signatures, records and multiple copies of the important ones. A real estate agent is your document organizer because he can help you keep track of the paperwork and most important of all, ensure that all the signatures are current and complete.
And here’s a really cool thing. Most real estate agents will act as a depository of your documents and will keep your paperwork on file for many years after the sale. Although it is also imperative that you keep your paperwork, if something happens to your copies in the future, your real estate agent may be able to help you with them.
5. Take the Pressure Off
There’s a lot of excitement involved in buying or selling a home but it still continues to be a potentially irksome undertaking. If you go by way of the “for sale by owner” approach, you’ll be receiving all the calls and inquiries about your listing. When you miss calls or do not respond immediately, you may end up turning off buyers and can cause you to pass on some great offers. Real estate agents can take all the calls and fix the showing schedule for you.
What’s worse, you may miss some important points in the paperwork. As you may have seen, the home buying and selling processes are tantamount to doing paperwork. Real estate agents, because of their experience and staff complement, can do all of these. It will not only save you time but it can cut down the stress on your part by ensuring that you fill out the correct paperwork at the right time and in the right manner.
Experienced real estate agents have what it takes so that your sale or purchase closes successfully. An agent might close as many deals in a week or month as most clients will be able to in their entire life.
They’ve been through to almost all situations – from problems during underwriting, inspections, and closings, so they can anticipate problems before they arise or quickly think up of a solution when they come.
6. Asking The Right Questions
Even the act of closing a contract opens a lot of questions that both seller and buyer should clear up.
There are things like who is paying what at closing and whether there are any disclosures that the seller should bring out in the open. If you’re going D-I-Y on your home transaction, you’re taking a big risk in assuming that everything will fall into place even if you don’t talk about them. The only way to cover all your bases is to have someone on your side, one who knows exactly what these bases are, can ask the right questions and do their very best to ensure the answers come out to your advantage.
7. Ethics & Credibility
When you hire a licensed real estate, you should make an agreement. If it’s under a conventional agency agreement where the agent agrees to represent you for a full-service commission, it will be a fiduciary relationship as most states will require. In effect, the license law will bind your agent to act in your best interest as his client and not for his or her own.
Additionally, remember that realtors rely on referrals and repeat business to build their network of clients and contacts so they can stay in business. This is enough motivation for them to do what’s best for their customers such that every client should receive excellent attention and care.
Lastly, in case you find that your agent has not been totally honest with you, you will have many avenues for recourse. You can go to your agent’s broker, his professional association (such as the National Association of Realtors) or even possibly get a court remedy if you have sufficient grounds that your agent has violated his fiduciary responsibilities.
Of course, many people are fully capable of buying or selling their own homes. But if you look at the long list of frequently asked questions on most websites, you can see for yourself that it isn’t a walk in the park. An experienced real estate agent’s worth becomes all the more valuable when you find yourself in a difficult situation – having a professional by your side could save the day – and the deal.