The proliferation of services that help homebuyers and sellers complete their own real-estate transactions is relatively recent, and it may have you wondering whether using a real-estate agent is becoming a relic of a bygone era. While doing the work yourself can save you the significant commissions that many real-estate agents command, for many, flying solo may not be the way to go and could end up being more costly than a commission in the long run. Buying or selling a home is a major financial and emotional undertaking. Find out why you shouldn”t discard the notion of hiring an agent just yet.
1. Better access/more convenience
Similarly, if you are looking to sell your home yourself, you will have to solicit calls from interested parties, answer questions and make appointments. Keep in mind that potential buyers are likely to move on if you tend to be busy or don”t respond quickly enough. Alternatively, you may find yourself making an appointment and rushing home, only to find that no one shows up.
2. Negotiating is tricky business
What if you, as a buyer, like a home but despise its wood-paneled walls, shag carpet and lurid orange kitchen? If you are working with an agent, you can express your contempt for the current owner”s decorating skills and rant about how much it”ll cost you to upgrade the home without insulting the owner. For all you know, the owner”s late mother may have lovingly chosen the decor. Your real-estate agent can convey your concerns to the sellers agent. Acting as a messenger, the agent may be in a better position to negotiate a discount without ruffling the homeowner”s feathers.
A real-estate agent can also play the bad guy in a transaction, preventing the bad blood between a buyer and seller that can kill a deal. Keep in mind that sellers can reject a potential buyer”s offer for any reason including just because they hate his or her guts. An agent can help by speaking for you in tough transactions and smoothing things over to keep them from getting too personal. This can put you in a better position to get the house you want. The same is true for the seller, who can benefit from a hard-nosed real-estate agent who will represent his or her interests without turning off potential buyers who want to niggle about the price.
3. Contracts can be hard to handle
An experienced real-estate agent deals with the same contracts and conditions on a regular basis and is familiar with which conditions should be used, when they can be removed safely and how to use the contract to protect you, whether you”re buying or selling your home.
4. Real-estate agents can”t lie
In addition, most real-estate agents rely on referrals and repeat business to build the kind of client base they”ll need to survive in the business. This means that doing what”s best for their clients should be as important to them as any individual sale.
Finally, if you do find that your agent has gotten away with lying to you, you will have more avenues for recourse, such as through your agent”s broker or professional association or possibly even in court if you can prove that your agent has failed to uphold his fiduciary duties.
When a buyer and seller work together directly, they can and should seek legal counsel, but because each is expected to act in his or her best interest, there isn”t much you can do if you find out later that you”ve been duped about multiple offers or the home”s condition. And having a lawyer on retainer any time you want to talk about potentially buying or selling a house could cost far more than an agent”s commissions by the time the transaction is complete.
5. Not everyone can save money
However, buyers who are looking to purchase a home sold by owners may also believe they can save some money on the home by not having an agent involved. They might even expect it and make an offer accordingly. However, unless buyer and seller agree to split the savings, they can”t both save the commission.
The bottom line
By Tara Struyk of Investopedia