As people get ready to buy or sell a home, some wonder why they need to hire a Realtor®. What do Realtors® do other than showing you homes and arranging paperwork? We’ll explore how an agent can make your transaction easier and give you the market access necessary to get the job done.
Consumer sentiment about the value of an agent is clear – the overwhelming majority of the public believe that agents are overpaid and do not deliver the sort of added value that the costs suggest.
One thing to consider though, is just because your Realtor® isn’t sitting directly in front of you, working, doesn’t mean they’re not taking steps to get you the best deal possible.
You Tap Into the Pricing Expertise of Your Agent
Your Realtor® is an expert in home prices for your area. They obsessively track the market and make note of any ups or downs that could affect your home’s value. As a result, they can make sure that your home is listed for an accurate amount that draws interest but still helps you sell for a strong price.
Many homeowners think they know how much their house is worth, but their emotions may cloud their perspective. Some fascinating work by behavioral economists coined this phenomenon, the Endowment Effect. By working with a Realtor®, you can develop an accurate, unbiased and realistic listing price.
On the flip side of this – sometimes homeowners err on the wrong side of the value equation and drastically undervalue their homes. A competent and ethical Realtor® can really help owners maximize their sale price in these scenarios.
You Don’t Have to Vet Contractors On Your Own
As you go to sell your house, you will likely work with all types of contractors, home repair professionals, staging companies, title companies, appraisers, and inspectors. Instead of researching these people individually and reaching out to them on your own, tap into the network of your real estate agent. One of the main benefits of using a Realtor® is their vast network of vetted contractors.
You Learn What Sells in Your Area
Have you researched this year’s top home trends? Are you thinking about building a fire pit, painting everything grey or investing in solar panels to increase your home value? Something that’s a national trend might not be right for your area – or even your home.
For example, while going solar is a popular trend, the investment might not be right if you have an older roof that will need to be replaced in a few years.
Your Realtor® will walk through the process and give advice on what will help your home sell and what will be a waste of time and money.
You Can Use the Multiple Listing Service
Let’s face it…”exchanges” where goods/homes/stocks are bought and sold tend to become natural monopolies. Ebay has no real competition because it makes sense that markets are more efficient when exposure is greatest.
The MLS is an efficient exchange, where the greatest number of sellers and buyers can conduct business together. The multiple listing service (MLS) is a tool used to list homes and find others on the market.
Having your home on the MLS increases its exposure, increasing the chances that someone will see it and want to buy it. You can also use the MLS to find potential homes that you want to buy. Access to this tool alone is one of the top benefits of using a Realtor®.
You Approach Buyers With a Level of Authority
Understandably, some sellers are intimidated by the complexity of the transaction, after all, there are a lot of moving parts…timelines, legal disclosures, etc.
When a skilled Realtor® is involved, a transaction just has an effortless flow to it – they manage buyer/seller emotions, transaction complexities, marketing and expectations.
This moves the whole buying and selling process along smoothly, which everyone wants when they’re making a major life change.
You Work With a Professional Negotiator
Some people avoid working with a real estate agent because they think their fees are too high. They want to save money by not paying a commission.
However, this overlooks one of the main benefits of using a Realtor®. Your Realtor® is a professional negotiator and they will simultaneously fight for your interests and keep the deal from falling apart due to hurt feelings.
Negotiating directly with a buyer or seller is difficult and having an experienced agent as a buyer is a no-brainer, typically the seller even pays the agent’s commission.
You Can Follow Legal Rules and Regulations
Unless you went to school for real estate, you likely aren’t versed in the legalities of buying or selling a home.
There are strict guidelines to follow and disclosures to make if you want to effectively navigate the process.
This means you have two choices: learn these rules yourself or hire someone who already knows them. Required disclosures vary from state to state.
You don’t have to be a real estate expert. That’s one of the benefits of using a Realtor®.
You Don’t Have to Worry About the Paperwork
Buying and selling a home comes with paperwork, there’s no avoiding it, but working with a Realtor® can reduce and organize the documents you’ll need to generate and execute.
Your Realtor® will likely draft the sales agreement for you and work with a title company or attorney to prepare the closing documents when the transaction concludes.
An experienced Realtor® can save hours of time for sellers or buyers who don’t fully understand the nuanced process of exchanging the rights to a home.
Reap The Benefits of Using a Realtor® to Buy or Sell Your House
Some people balk at the idea of hiring a Realtor® because they’ve had negative experiences in the past. This doesn’t reflect the industry as a whole, but rather emphasizes the importance of having a good fit with whoever you work with.
Elizabeth Weintraub is a former homebuying writer for The Balance with more than 40 years of experience in real estate, including experience in title and escrow.
Use Experienced Agents
When you are in the market to buy a house—or need to sell your current home—that is the time to use an experienced real estate agent. An inexperienced agent can cost you time and money, and unfortunately maybe even put you at risk of losing out on your dream home.
Instead of asking how much experience an agent has, ask how many times the agent has renewed their real estate license. In Oklahoma, for example, real estate licenses are issued for three years, New Hampshire's term is two years, and California has four-year terms.
Search your own state's real estate commission—or equivalent office—website to find how long licenses last. Knowing how many times an agent has renewed a license allows you to calculate how many years they have been working, and it also is a starting point for gauging an agent's track record.
Agents who have renewed their licenses multiple times are more likely to have a history of consistently closing deals.
It's tempting to use a relative or a close friend as your real estate agent. They're sometimes called "DNA" agents because they're related to you. It may seem like a good idea because of the familiarity, but one of the most valuable things an agent offers is objective advice and insights.
As relatives, you might be too careful to not offend each other or counter the other's opinions or ideas, even if it's in your best interest to do so. You might not feel as comfortable demanding what you deserve as you would with an agent who was not family.
It also might be tempting to want to hire a relative if that person is a new agent and trying to get established. Helping someone get their foot in the door in the industry is nice, but your main concern should be finding the best real estate agent for your needs.
Abundance of Inexperienced Agents
Jobs for real estate agents are expected to expand at a rate of 7% for the decade ending in 2028, slightly better than the 5% rate of growth projected for all jobs. However, it's not projected to be steady growth.
The real estate market fluctuates frequently due to external economic factors. When the market is down, experienced agents with a strong foundation can weather the storm, but expect a lot of turnover among agents with limited experience.
One of the biggest reasons real estate agents leave the business is because they aren't making enough money. The median salary for a real estate sales agent in the United States is about $48,000 a year, and the lowest-paid 10% earn less than $25,000 annually.
Agents on the low end of that scale are most likely to be casualties of a down market, which can lead to more turnover in the profession.
Identify The Most Experienced Agents
Youtypically want an agent who projects an outgoing personality. Being good at the job generally involves communicating with a lot of people effectively. If you think your agent communicates well and is likable, it's reasonable to expect the other buyers or sellers you're working with to feel the same way—and that's what you want.
Organization and time management
Agents have a lot on their plate, and you won't be the only client experienced agents are serving. Make sure the person you're dealing with keeps appointments and responds to messages promptly. If they're not doing so for you, they're probably not doing so for other buyers, sellers, or agents you need to work with.
Conflict resolution is an unavoidable aspect of real estate transactions. Look for agents who listen calmly and think logically.
Marketing expertise and self-promotion
Would you buy something from this person? Ultimately, that's the bottom line. If you can't answer yes to that question, you don't want that person as your agent.