We live in a do-it-yourself age. The internet has provided us with a seemingly endless supply of information, and it’s easier than ever to figure out what we need to know to do just about anything all on our own.
So when it comes time to buy or sell your home, you might ask yourself, “Do I really need a real estate agent?” A simple search online is sure to provide you with tips that suggest otherwise. But buying or selling a home generally shouldn’t be tackled alone. Here are some reasons why using a real estate agent is the way to go.
Real estate agents are trained and have more experience than what can be gained through reading about the home buying or selling process online. When it comes to negotiating, you’ll be thankful to have the help of a real estate agent who’s been through negotiations before. And if you’re a first time home buyer, a real estate agent can provide helpful tips to get you through the process more easily.
Hope Wilson, a licensed real estate agent for RE/MAX Premier Realty, warns against relying solely on the internet. “Today’s buyers use online listing information to their advantage, but they sometimes exclude homes that meet their criteria without ever seeing the home,” she explains.
“Agents know that homes are very different in person,” says Wilson. “We use the identified needs and wants of a buyer and are less influenced by listing descriptions or photos. In addition, we have access to superior searching tools, information not available online, so we can more thoroughly evaluate the available homes.”
They Save You Time
Buying a new home will likely be one of the biggest purchases of your life. And if you’re selling, you’re probably hoping for the best possible outcome. If you have a family, a job and more to take care of, you might be short on time. But real estate agents can take the time that you don’t have to gather marketing materials, hold open houses, search for homes that fit your criteria and more, saving you time in the short term and the long run.
They Take the Pressure Off
Buying or selling a home is an exciting but nerve-racking experience. If you decide to go with the “for sale by owner” approach, you’ll be handling all the calls about the listing. Missed calls and delayed responses can turn off buyers and can cause you to miss out on potential offers. Real estate agents can take these calls and schedule showings for you.
And what’s worse than missing calls? Missing important points in your paperwork. The home buying and selling process inevitably involves paperwork, and real estate agents can save you time and cut down on stress by ensuring that you fill out the right paperwork at the right time and in the right way.
Wilson adds, “Experienced agents have learned how to ensure your sale or purchase closes successfully. An agent might complete as many deals in a week or a month as most clients will do in their lifetimes. We’ve dealt with problems that arise during underwriting, inspections and closings, so we can anticipate problems before they come up or resolve them quickly when they do.”
They Act As Middlemen
You might have legitimate concerns about a house before you put in an offer. A real estate agent can act as a great neutral party in the buying process so you can express your concerns to sellers without insulting them. Your agent can convey these concerns appropriately and negotiate the best price for you.
On the other side of the process, Wilson says, “Sellers can benefit from an agent’s objective advice about preparing their home for sale, help in showing the home’s strengths in buyers’ eyes, negotiating without emotion and successfully completing all the different steps required to get the sale closed.”
It might be tempting to try to save money by buying or selling on your own and avoiding paying a real estate agent’s commission, but it may not be worth the risk. Wilson explains, “One of the biggest things we do is protect the parties’ interests. There is usually a good amount of money involved in a real estate transaction, and having someone on your side, protecting your funds is crucial.”
They Can Help You Stick to a Deadline
When Denise Fetters, a home buyer from Pennsylvania, had to relocate to North Carolina for work, she was set up in a hotel and given five days to search for a place to live. Going through the process by herself was simply not in the cards, so she searched for an experienced real estate agent who could help find her dream home on a lake.
“When arriving in North Carolina, I entered my hotel room and to my surprise, found a very large, beautiful basket of goodies waiting for me, signed by my realtor. I immediately felt like an important client and knew we would have a good partnership,” Fetters remembers. “He came through with my house on a lake, negotiated a very good deal, and I have continued to live happily in that house for 18 years.”
Real estate agents are there to help. Despite a growing DIY culture, they still have valuable experience and expertise that can’t be easily replaced with online learning.
So if you’re getting ready to buy or sell a home, take into consideration the benefits of hiring a real estate agent over tackling the project yourself. Do your research, find the right real estate agent for you and enjoy the adventure!
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