While it can be appealing to conduct the home buying process on your own, you may want to hire a real estate agent to help you land your dream home. Here are a few reasons why we typically recommend that our buyers hire an agent before they begin shopping for a home.
Why Should I Hire a A Real Estate Agent?
1) Buyer Representation
Real estate agents are required by law to have their buyers’ best interests in mind when trying to strike a deal, and this is their fiduciary responsibility. A buyer’s agent will serve as your advocate as you interact with sellers and their listing agents. A home purchase is often the largest financial transaction that a person makes in life. With that said, it’s important to have an expert on your side that can advise to help you obtain the best outcome.
2) Negotiation Experience
Real estate deals have many moving parts. When it comes time to negotiate, you will want a neutral, third party advocate in your corner. Even if negotiation tactics are a strength of yours, it helps to have an understanding of the current market standards to know what you should be requesting from the seller. An agent will know things like: How much are sellers generally paying in closing costs? When low-ball offers, bidding wars or contract contingencies come into play, your agent will bring their expertise to the table to provide the best outcome.
3) Market Knowledge
When shopping for a home, it is crucial to understand the market values on homes and how to compare properties. An experienced agent will be able to conduct research and present you with plenty of data on the current state of the market. Additionally, they will be able to advise you if a home you’re looking at is priced way above market value or below.
4) Neighborhood Expertise
A real estate agent can provide up to date information on utilities, schools, zoning, traffic patterns, and other characteristics that will help you decide if a particular neighborhood is the right fit for you. Finding a great house is just one piece of the puzzle; a local expert can help you narrow down your search to find a community that adds to your overall quality of life.
5) Home Search Support
If you want to supercharge your home search, a buyer’s agent can help you get a head start. First, your agent will set up a consult to gain a good understanding of what characteristics and features of a home are important to you, and help you prioritize those factors to narrow the search.
Once those factors are determined, the agent will sift through all available listings to find the options that are worth scheduling a showing for the buyer to see in person. While this may seem like something that’s easy enough to do on your own, it can be very time consuming, and without the help of a real estate agent’s inside scoop, you may waste your time on a outdated listing.
Think of your buyer’s agent as an extra set of hands that can help you with the legwork of the research, fact check the findings, and coordinate appointments for showings.
6) Access To Experts
The are several professionals involved in the home buying process, including mortgage lenders, home inspectors, title companies, and more. Your agent likely has a good idea of which partners to recommend to help ensure that you receive excellent service every step of the way.
7) Paperwork Management
Buying a home involves more than picking a home and signing on the dotted line. If reading and comprehending 15-page-contracts and their addendums and disclosures sounds like something you’d dread, hiring a real estate agent will come in handy. Your agent can help you gather, prepare, and understand all of the documentation that is required to buy your home.
8) No Out of Pocket Costs
A real estate agent’s commission is paid for by the seller and not the buyer. The commission is based on the final sale price of the home, and the seller’s agent typically splits that commission with the buyer’s agent once the purchase is complete. Therefore, there are no out of pocket costs for the buyer.
How Do You Pick a Real Estate Agent?
Once you decide to hire an agent, it’s important that you choose one you can trust and that you feel comfortable around. Remember, they’re working for you and are looking to be hired by you for a job. It is okay to ask tough questions to help make the best decision possible. During your hunt for a buyer’s agent, there are a few things you can do to weigh all your options.
- Talk to real estate agents at local open houses.
- Read reviews online
- Conduct interviews (having about three to four options is ideal)
- Ask for client references.
- Express your needs when buying, and inquire about how they will help you meet your goals.
- You can always ask your OVM Financial lender for recommendations
Realtor® Vs. Real Estate Agent
When choosing an agent, you may see that some agents identify as Realtor® versus a real estate agent. The word “Realtor” indicates that your agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Members of NAR are required to abide by a strict code of ethics, and prospective members must pass an exam on the code of ethics to become a Realtor®. A refresher course is required every four years to ensure that members are up to date on the most recent real estate laws and best practices.
While working with a Realtor® has this additional perk, there’s no supporting evidence that shows that a real estate agent cannot offer the same level of support and ethical guidance. Be sure to use the suggested methods above when choosing the best partner to help you with your purchase.
The Bottom Line
The decision to buy or sell a home is an incredibly impactful one. You should have a real estate agent in your corner who can help you obtain the best financial and personal outcome possible.
As always, we’re here to answer any questions you have and help guide you through the process. Give us a call or start your application today.