Do I Need an Agent?

why the heck do I need a real estate agent anyway?

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a property, you may be wondering if you really need a real estate agent.

Buyers and sellers are more educated than ever and property information, crime statistics, school rankings and neighborhood data is all available online if you know where to look.

But can the Zillows of the world really replace the knowledge and expertise of a licensed and experienced agent?
Since opinions are like…well, you know, take a look at the facts and decide for yourself.  

Remember, real estate is like any other profession. 

There are shining examples of excellence and experience and there are lazy dogs who give the profession a bad name.
However, if you spend a little time vetting and hiring the right agent in the beginning you will save yourself time and headaches throughout the entire process and will insure your interests are protected and competently represented.
Here’s some things you can expect from a great agent regardless of whether you are a buyer or a seller:
  • Documents & Contracts

    An agent is an expert in the language of real estate.   They understand the contracts and necessary paperwork and know how to use it to protect your best interests.    A great agent can also explain it to you in a way that makes it easy to understand. 

  • Fiduciary responsibility

    Your agent is required by law to put your best interests first.   They’ve got your back and will represent you in a transaction.    They are licensed and monitored by the state and there are consequences if they do not act with fiduciary responsibility. 

  • confidentiality

    Your agent is required to keep your personal and financial details confidential.   Without an agent to act as a buffer, would you be comfortable providing personal details to the other parties in the transaction?

  • Experience & Objectivity

    Agents know what to look for.   They can see a property clearly and without emotion.   They can help navigate around common pitfalls on both the buying and selling sides.

  • Negotiation

    Star agents are superior negotiators.   An agent working for you is in your corner 100%.   They will fight for what is best for you, saving you time, money and headaches. 

  • buffer / advocacy

    An agent will be your point of contact from the day you hire them until closing.   If something needs to be done, they will be your advocate and will make sure you are represented fully.   So much of the deal happens in the background.  If you think your deal went smoothly and there were no issues, then your agent did their job and buffered you from the many back and forth exchanges that take place in every real estate deal.

An agent’s services and what they do for you will diverge at this point depending on whether you are buying or selling a home.

sellers

For sellers, it all comes down to money. 
The seller pays commission most of the time and on the surface, it seems like it could be a huge cost savings to go it alone. 
The thing is, the statistics tell a completely different story.   Read on to find out more.
Here are a few things an agent will do specifically for a seller:
increase the bottom line
It all comes down to money and the data shows that using an agent will make you more.
  • More Money

    Sellers who used an agent made an average of 30% more according to a recent study.

  • Even More Money

    Homes listed by agents cleared an average of $77,100 more than those for sale by owner.

  •   Commission

    If an agent brings you a qualified buyer, you may wind up paying commission anyway as part of the deal, but you won't have representation.   And you still have to do all the work.

more buyers
Better than 88% of buyers use an agent and this number increases each year.
Like it or not, agents are more likely to show houses that are listed by other agencies. 
 So if you don’t use an agent, you could be missing a huge sector of the market.
pricing
The importance of pricing your home correctly cannot be stressed enough. 
Hitting that sweet spot is integral.  Price too low and you leave money on the table.  Price it too high and your home will languish, unsold for weeks and months.

A qualified agent will know how to price your home just right based on many different factors.  

The longer your property sits, the longer you have to keep it “showing ready”.   Buyers will start to wonder what is wrong with your house because it hasn’t sold, even if the only thing wrong is pricing or a lack of advertising.

Think you are saving money even if it takes longer to sell?  How much is your monthly mortgage?  Every additional month it takes to sell is that much more you have to pay.  

value added

A great agent isn’t just going to stick a sign in your yard and schedule showings.  They will also provide many other services you may not have thought of.

Did you know an agent typically works for free unless they sell your house?  Since they don’t get paid until settlement, that means the cost of memberships, photos, videos, signs and marketing materials all comes out of their pocket up front.  

Are you an expert negotiator?  Are you familiar with all of the required disclosures and contracts in your state?  Agents are well versed in both and can help you navigate the mountain of paperwork with ease.  They will make sure you and your interests are protected every step of the way.  

You will underestimate how many people will call you, day and night, if you list your home on Craig’s List. 

I have a 400 credit score and no bank will look at me, will you hold the mortgage for me?

I’d like to buy your home, but I’m an investor and it needs $100K in work.  I’ll pay cash, but I have to offer $100K less than asking…

Can I come to see the house…now?  I’m outside…


An agent will qualify potential buyers and will buffer you from all the creepy Craig’s List trawlers and Lookie Lous.

Selling your home is likely one of the biggest financial transactions you will ever complete.  The protection, experience, knowledge and guidance provided by a seasoned real estate agent is invaluable.  

Statistics show that working with a realtor will actually make you more money in the long run and it is certainly less headache.  You owe it to yourself to explore the possibility before you make a decision. 

 Contact us today for a free consultation.

buyers

Since sellers typically pay commission, and 89% of them hire an agent to list their home, one might wonder why a buyer would choose not to work with an agent who represents them.
The most important benefit a buyer will receive from hiring a great agent is, very simply, protection. 
But beyond that, a great agent offers so much more. 
Here are a few things an agent will do specifically for a buyer:
  • Property Access

    An agent will coordinate and schedule all of your property viewings.     While you might think this is simple, you could not access the properties yourself without the listing agent, and they represent the seller, not you.     Your agent can schedule multiple properties in a row and can maximize your time.     Why not relax and let them do all the work?

  • Experience

    A good agent may send you automated reports to get a feel for what you like, but once you’ve seen a few houses, a great agent will not only narrow and refine your search but will show you properties that you might have otherwise missed. 

  • Knowledge

    An agent will look at more than the cosmetic appearance of a property and will help you find the best home for your money.   They will know what to expect and can avoid common difficulties through every step of the transaction.

  • Pricing /offer negotiation

    No one wants to pay more than they have to for anything, but a buyer definitely doesn’t want to lose their dream home over a few thousand dollars, either.    A great agent will not only help you confirm the market value of the home but they will be able to fashion a creative offer that can help you get the property you want all while protecting you and your best interests.

  • FHA / Foreclosure Properties

    You MUST use an agent if you are bidding on FHA foreclosure properties, The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires the use of a licensed agent during this transaction.

While it is almost always prudent to hire a real estate professional to represent you, there are a few select instances when you might choose not to. 
Here are a few examples where a buyer or seller might not need the full complement of services offered by a real estate agent:
  • Selling to family or a friend

    In a closed transaction such as this, much of what an agent does is unnecessary.  

    You may be able to get the property sold without any assistance, or you could consider asking an agent to act as a Transaction Licensee.  

    A transaction licensee will fill out the paperwork and will act as a neutral party, representing neither, but facilitating the completion of the deal.     Not all brokers allow their agents to work in this capacity, but many understand there are times when only a portion of their services are required.

  • You are an experienced investor

    If buying and selling real estate is part of your job, then odds are you don’t necessarily need an agent to close the deal.  Of course you probably aren't reading this article, either.

    Ironically, most investors have an agent they work with exclusively and the largest investors have them on staff.   That says something about the value a great agent provides. 

  • You hired a real estate attorney

    If money is no object, go ahead and call in the big guns – just remember, an attorney is not going to show you houses and probably won’t work with anything other than the contracts.  

    They’re not going to coordinate home inspections or work with your lender.

  • The Seller refuses to pay commission and you can't either

    Sometimes we just don’t have the money to do things the way we would like, but consider carefully as you could lose more in the deal than you save by going it alone.  

     Also, note that a buyer can request that agent fees be rolled into the mortgage.  

    If you only need to pay your own agent, it’s typically half as much.  Be honest with your agent and talk with them. Remember, this is their job and they deserve compensation for their work just like everyone else. You wouldn't work for free and you should not expect them to either.

We know that buying or selling your home can be stressful and can feel complicated and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Let us help you simplify the process and offer you full service from start to finish. 

As always, we are here to answer any questions you may have about the buying or selling process.  Feel free to contact us and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

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