If you’re getting ready to buy or sell a house, you might be weighing the pros and cons of hiring a real estate agent. Some people will avoid working with agents or realtors because they think real estate agent fees are too high. Others wouldn’t hire one because they’ve had bad experiences in the past. However, this only emphasizes the importance of having a good agent to work with. In addition, if the only reason you’re not working with an agent is to save money by not paying fees and commissions, then you’re overlooking the main benefits of hiring a real estate agent. What does a real estate agent do and how do they make your transaction easier? Here are the top 10 reasons why you need a real estate agent whether you’re a seller, buyers, or a property investor.
#1 Agents Know What to Look For
Those in the market to buy a house or an investment property usually have a firm idea of what they want, from the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to a swimming pool and other must-haves. You’ll probably feel comfortable looking at homes for sale with that list tucked firmly in the back of your mind. However, there will always be properties in the area you wish to live in. So the question is, which one of these homes will suit your specific needs and budget?
If you’re buying a home without a realtor, then you’ll have to sift through all the available options yourself. Anyone can imagine how time-consuming this task is. An experienced real estate agent, however, will shortlist properties for you based on your wish list. Realtors typically know every house on the real estate market and it’s their job to find the one that fits your needs and budget. The agent will also guide you through the buying process, making it smooth and stress-free.
#2 Agents Have Extensive Market Knowledge
No one understands current real estate market trends and conditions better than agents. If you’re a property investor, this is one of the main reasons and benefits of hiring a real estate agent. Top agents are well-versed with all aspects of the housing market, especially how different factors like mortgage interest rates and the unemployment rate can affect it. They also have intimate knowledge of street-by-street and even house-by-house market, for both buyers’ and sellers’ markets. Thus, they know the ins and outs of the market and know more details of homes for sale than the info found on the MLS.
The type of real estate data they possess includes the median and average sales prices, ratios of list-to-sold prices, and average price per square foot of similar properties. They can also identify real estate comparable and hand this information to you, so you can make an informed decision quickly. Other market knowledge that only a local agent will know include which neighborhoods are near great schools, which neighborhoods saw the greatest increase in market value over the years, and what are the most promising projects in a given area. All of this allows agents to help you determine whether or not a certain neighborhood is good for real estate investing.
#3 Agents Have Professional Networks
Real estate agents are professionals at networking. They know just about everyone involved in the process of buying and selling a house. Many will have a list of preferred providers who they have worked with in the past and who they trust. This is one of the benefits of hiring a real estate agents that both buyers and sellers will find very helpful. For example, if you’re selling a house, a seller’s agent will give you a list of contractors, home repair professionals, staging companies, title companies, landscapers, plumbers, painters, etc.
Buyers also need to work with professionals including inspectors, appraisers, real estate lawyers, and mortgage professionals. Instead of researching these people individually and reaching out to them on your own, you can tap into your buyer’s agent’s network. This is especially beneficial for a beginner real estate investor as it’ll help you start building your own network of professionals whom you can trust and rely on for future property investment deals.
#4 Agents Spot Potential Problems
Next on the benefits of hiring a real estate agent is also great for both property buyers and sellers. When selling a house, owners need to make sure that the property is in great shape. That helps in attracting more buyers and potentially sell the property faster and at a higher price. Buyers, of course, are also looking for homes for sale that are in good conditions so they don’t have to spend money on repairs after they’ve just paid for the house. However, there are some problems that might not cross your mind or that may be hiding out of site and which could potentially disastrous hazards.
This is another reason why you need a real estate agent. Realtors have trained eyes that identify potential problems that you may not see like furnace issues, roofing problems, leaks, and mold and insect issues. An agent will also have a home inspector provide a detailed report on problems with the house. A buyer’s agent will have a good sense of what’s reasonable repairs to request. If you’re a seller, your property agent will let you know of the best approach to fixing these issues. Remember, your real estate agent responsibilities include protecting your interests, so this knowledge will help you save thousands down the road.
#5 Agents Provide Valuable Price Guidance
As a homeowner, you might think you know how much your house is worth. But is the price that you’ve arrived at reasonable? Most of the time, emotions may cloud your perspective which would lead to overestimating your home’s value. Some might also stumble on the wrong side of the equation and drastically undervalue their homes. The only way for you to know for sure is by identifying real estate comps that confirm that you’re in the right range. This will help you sell for the optimal price or buy at the right price. But, the easier way is working with real estate agents.
Most real estate agents can set a price on a home the minute they walk through the door. While anyone can spend a few minutes online and pull information on sales of comparable properties, agents have the experience to know whether a specific house is overpriced or underpriced. They will also perform a comparative market analysis to evaluate all the data that affects home values. As a result, they help sellers develop an accurate and realistic listing price that would attract buyers. Buyers’ agents, on the other hand, will help in making the right choice regarding how much to offer on a house.
#6 Agents Have Superior Negotiating Skills
Buyers and sellers want one thing: to get the best real estate deal possible. To achieve this, you need to have savvy negotiation skills. Negotiating directly with a buyer or seller is difficult, which is another reason why use a real estate agent. Realtors are skilled negotiators as they have years of negotiation experience under their belts. They know what normally works and what does not. Moreover, it’s your agent’s job to always strive to get you the best possible price – whether you’re selling or buying an investment property. They will use their analysis of real estate comps in the area to build a strong case so you can get top dollar. And, most importantly, they have no emotional stake in the outcome that can cloud their thinking.
#7 Agents Provide Home Staging Advice
Selling your home but not sure if it’s aesthetically up to par? Your agent can handle that! The goal of home staging is to make it easier for buyers to see themselves living in the house. This will help find a buyer quicker and decrease your time on the market. And agents are pros when it comes to staging homes for sale and makes them look great to attract the right buyer. A top real estate agent knows what buyers are looking for and uses his/her tools and resources to make your home appeal to the most likely buyers. Whether it’s moving furniture around or bringing in some of their own props, they know to make your home look like it’s ready to be sold.
#8 Agents Have Access to Off-Market Listings
Are you still wondering do I need a real estate agent to buy a home as an investor? Well, here’s another reason why you need a real estate agent – access to off-market listings! MLS listings and property search websites can show you an array of properties for sale in an area. However, there are cases in which sellers don’t want the fact that they’re selling to be widely publicized. So, they don’t list their homes or put a “For Sale” sign on their yard. In those cases, only agents are aware that the homeowners are looking to sell and try to find buyers.
Hence, one of the best ways to find off-market properties is by working with real estate agents. Savvy investors know that these real estate deals are some of the best investment opportunities out there because they’re cheap and have high ROI potentials. With access to both listed and off-market properties, your agents can offer you a wider selection of investment properties to choose from. The more options you have as a real estate investor, the better your chances of finding the best investment property that fits your criteria.
#9 Agents Know the Best Marketing Techniques
This is one of the benefits of hiring a real estate agent that sellers should pay attention to. Many who choose to sell a house without a realtor end up either not selling or selling for less than their asking price. One of the reasons why those “for sale by owner” deals don’t sell is because they’re not marketed well enough to attract buyers. Property agents and realtors, on the other hand, have been working in the real estate industry for several years and know that best marketing strategies that will get the house in front of potential buyers and make sure people show up for an open house.
For example, they might already know someone from their network who is interested in buying a home exactly like yours. They also have access to the Multiple Listing Services. A person without a real estate agent license can’t have access to the MLS. So if you want your home to be posted on there, you need an agent to post it for you. This will greatly increase the amount of exposure your house gets. Not only that, but agents also know what to focus on when marketing a property. They know what a specific buyer is looking for and how to market it to the masses.
#10 Agents Save Time and Energy
Closing a real estate transaction is typically a long and lengthy process. Working with real estate agents, however, can make the process easier for you. If looking to sell a property, the agent will handle open homes and showings so you don’t have to make all those appointments yourself. The sellers’ agent will also filter all those irritating phone calls that lead to nowhere and, hence, help you in identifying serious buyers. If you’re a buyer, your agent will similarly protect you from being inundated with calls and the marketing tactics of sellers.
Moreover, the process of closing real estate deals involves exhaustive paperwork. This includes tricky contract documents, requests, offers and counteroffers, settlement statements, federal and state-mandated disclosures, and more. Most home buyers and sellers are shocked by the sheer amount of paperwork they need to deal with when closing a deal. You can make things a whole lot easier for yourself by hiring a real estate agent who knows how to handle everything, makes the process more convenient, and ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, an agent is your ally. As you can see, there are numerous benefits of hiring a real estate agent. Keep in mind that agents and realtors depend on referrals to grow their business. This means they’ll make all their efforts to ensure you’re happy and satisfied with their service so you can recommend them to your friends and family. In addition, the agent you hire is going to be around for the long run and will be there for you when you need to sell or buy another property. This is a bonus benefit and one more reason why you need a real estate agent.