Do I need need a Real Estate Agent?

There are a few people out there who don't really understand what an agent can do for them. Some would even go as far as to say they cannot be trusted. This is a fair assessment and in fact is quite the polarizing subject. The truth is, agents are often times either loved or completely hated. Some buyers and sellers probably can and have managed just fine on their own and therefore an agent is not always necessary. A known misnomer is that you can make more money on your own without the agent. However, in most cases, this isn't always the case. Here is what you should look for.

Why you may need a Listing Agent

If you are looking to sell your home you might be tempted to try and sell it on your own. The truth is, its not too difficult to get people interested in your home. The struggle usually starts when the negotiating begins. Typically, the seller has a set number in mind, whether the home is worth the amount of money or not. If the buyer doesn't agree or knows its priced too high they will typically make a single attempt to lower that price or simply walk away from the table. If the buyer does choose to walk away the seller may decide to contact them later (especially when the home isnt moving as quickly as hoped) and try to renegotiate. This is where your bottom line is effected. According to NAR, an agent is more likely to make the seller 22% more on their home versus selling on their own.

That is just one scenario and a common one that ultimately leaves the seller unhappy after the sale completes. However, there are other scenarios as well. Consider an area where the market is hot. A seller can stick their sign in the ground and attract several offers; maybe even all at once. But do they have any prior experience on handling multiple offers? Or what not to do so they don't get sued? What about how to get more money out of the borrower? Questions to consider along with getting through the home inspection process, appraisals and then on to closing. In a slow market, an agent becomes more valuable. It is their expertise and ability to negotiate that helps the seller not only maximize their potential earnings but to close the deal. 80% of buyers have an agent. In fact, most buyers would rather have negotiations take place between the agents in order to remove the emotional roller coaster that can occur without them.

Why having a Real Estate Agent brings value to a transaction

Unless you plan on taking most of your time to attend open houses, functions, doing advertisements and getting to know your market; you may not possess the crucial information needed to successfully sell your home. Some information may include neighbors floor plans or home additions, why some homes sold for more than others or new plans to change the neighborhood. Experienced agents have this knowledge and can use it to position your home to sell at the highest possible price. 

Listing agents sell homes. That is their main focus and what they do day in and day out. Below is a list of services listing agents offer and have access to that you may not:

- Marketing Materials and utilizing selling systems.
- Set-up virtual tours and take professional pictures.
- Promote the home to other agents within the company and at weekly MLS meetings.
- Networking with fellow real estate agents.
- Better price your home using up-to-date market data and recent sales.
- Set up home stages, inspectors and repair contractors.
- Get Buyer feedback and set up private showings.
- Confirm buyer qualifications to weed out the not so serious buyers.
- Counter offer and negotiate offers. Manage multiple offers.
- Guidance and suggestions to get through home inspections and low appraisals.

Buyers Agents: They work for the Buyer, not the Seller

In order for a buyer's agent to do their job correctly, they need to put the buyers needs ahead of their own. They must disclose all material facts, keep the buyers intentions and information confidential and provide the buyer with all the necessary information provided in order to expertly negotiate on the buyer's behalf. Buyer's agents have the ability to hear about listings coming on the market before the homes are actively listed to the public. They also can do the following:

- Provide comparable sales in the neighborhood.
- Provide sales data from MLS map searches.
- Pull property history documents, along with historical sales, data and demographics.
- Run ratio reports on list price vs. sales price to suggest a pricing strategy.
- Locate annual facts and trends in and around a particular area.
- Prepare strong offers that present the buyer in the best light possible based on market demands.
- Review documents for loopholes and obtain disclosures.

In conclusion...

You may feel confident and competent enough to be able to handle selling and/or purchasing property. But you might always wonder whether you didn't get enough for it or whether you paid too much. Always keep in mind that even though you have to pay an agent for their services, you may still make out better financially having them at your side versus trying to do it all on your own.