If you're in the market to buy or sell a house, you may be wondering whether it's necessary to hire a real estate agent.
The TL:DR? Probably.
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But if you need concrete evidence of why hiring a real estate agent is a good move (hint: they'll make you money and save you headaches), here's our list of the top six benefits of hiring one.
No matter which side of the deal you're on, having a real estate agent on your team can save you money.
For sellers, a real estate agent can help you sell your home for more. According to the National Association of Realtors' 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the median selling price for homes sold by agents was $60,000 to $90,000 higher than those sold exclusively by homeowners (also called "for sale by owner," or FSBO).
If you're a buyer, hiring a real estate agent will help ensure you get a good deal on your home and don't overpay.
"Real estate agents know the value of properties in their area," says real estate broker Liz Loadholt of The AgentOwned Realty Co. "So they know if a property is overpriced or underpriced."
Nobody likes paperwork and, unfortunately, buying or selling a home involves a lot of it.
From initial home inspections to final contracts and titles, there's a lot of documentation that goes into buying or selling a home, and you'll want someone to help you manage it all.
"In real estate transactions, there's an enormous amount of small details and paperwork," says Maria Quattrone, CEO of Maria Quattrone & Associates at RE/MAX @ HOME. "A Realtor is used to juggling real-time market conditions, inspection dates, mortgage approval contingencies, seller's disclosures, closing dates and exclusions -- and that's just for starters. It's difficult to navigate all of those factors on your own."
In addition, your agent will review every document to ensure that the contracts you're about to sign are working in your favor.
"A good real estate agent is well-versed in writing contracts to best protect their client," says Loadholt. "For example, a due diligence contract is best for buyers, since this allows the buyer a certain length of time to check out a new property, and cancel it if they find anything they don't like."
3. Expert eye
Real estate agents know a bad deal when they see one. Something that might be a nonissue for you (or go completely unnoticed) might make an experienced Realtor cringe. And we can all agree -- it's better to know about red flags upfront.
"Real estate agents can help identify if a home is a bad buy or just overpriced," says Realtor Dr. Randy Bell. "Some common red flags include sellers not wanting to take care of necessary repairs, or not disclosing information about the home."
Hiring an agent means you'll have an extra set of eyes on every bit of information that comes your way, and the best chance of buying a home that's a worthy investment.
If you thought negotiating for a better price on your dream home would be as easy as haggling with a street vendor, think again. Negotiation of both buying and selling can be incredibly complicated, and it's a huge help to have someone on your side who's done it before.
"Negotiation is a big thing," says Chris Cucchiara of Keller Williams Realty Central Coast. "A good buyer's agent will work with the selling agent and get an offer accepted that's a couple thousand to tens of thousands of dollars lower than the original asking price."
The same goes for sellers. In order to get the most out of your deal and avoid putting yourself at a disadvantage, you'll want an agent who knows how to negotiate.
One of the best parts of working with a real estate agent is the access it gives you to all of their connections. Need a staging company, a photographer or even a great last-minute handyman? Your agent probably knows one and can connect you as a priority customer.
"Realtors have a network of connections with contractors, inspectors and fellow agents," says Suzanne Seini of Active Realty. "Their network provides clients with additional insight that they wouldn't get otherwise, and these relationships can help both buyers and sellers avoid added costs while getting work done efficiently."
It might be your first time buying or selling a home, but it isn't theirs. Understanding all the ins and outs of the agreement you're about to enter is a pretty tall order, which is why so many people turn to Realtors for help.
"The main benefit for buyers is knowing how much to pay and when to walk away," Bell says. "As for sellers, a seasoned agent can tell clients when to accept an offer because they know it won't get any better than that."
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