Do I need a realtor?
It’s a common question. When you see how much commission agents take, you may question if a real estate pro is necessary.
The standard real estate sales commission is 6% of the selling price. That’s $12,000 on a $200,000 home. It’s no wonder you would question if you really need to use a realtor.
But saving a little money can hurt you in the long run.
Why use a realtor? Whether you’re buying or selling, you get the industry experience of your agent to help. Agents work full-time on behalf of their clients, which means less work for you.
Keep reading to find out why you should use a realtor.
1. Tap into Experience
Buying or selling a house seems simple. But a lot goes into the process for both parties. An experienced agent guides you through it all from start to finish.
Why use a realtor to sell? When you sell, your agent helps you price the home effectively.
Too low of a price means you miss out on money. Overpricing can scare away buyers or even cause them to miss your house if it’s outside their search parameters.
Your realtor can recommend updates to make before selling. They can provide home staging tips to make your house sell faster.
When you buy, your agent can help you narrow your search. As you look at homes, a realtor can spot potential issues.
If you go it alone, you’ll spend a lot of time sorting out the ins and outs of real estate. With an agent, you get instant access to years of real estate education and experience.
2. Access the Multiple Listing Service
Are you selling your home? Getting it listed on the MLS instantly gives your home more exposure. Agents and online sites use the MLS to find and display homes.
You also gain access to the agent’s potential buyer pool. Remember, you’re not the only client. Your agent likely has plenty of potential buyers who may want a home just like yours.
You can get your FSBO home on the MLS, but it’ll cost you. Only licensed realtors can add homes to the MLS.
Expect to pay a fee to a broker to get it on if you’re doing FSBO. Paying that fee eats into what you save by selling on your own.
If you’re buying, your realtor scours the MLS for you. You may hear about homes before you even see them on the popular realty sites. That means you can find the best new homes as soon as they hit the market.
3. Make Less Work for Yourself
Your real estate agent handles the majority of the work for a home sale.
If you’re a buyer, your agent sets up viewings and handles communication with the buyers. The agent puts together all the paperwork and coordinates the appraisal, closing, and other important dates.
On the selling end, the agent helps market your home to help it sell faster. Agents coordinate showings with potential buyers. If you do it on your own, you have to field all the calls for appointments and deal with no-shows.
A home sale means lots of paperwork on both sides. With pages and pages of documents, it’s easy to make a mistake. Your agent makes sure the documents are accurate, which helps the transaction go smoothly.
4. Follow Legal Requirements
Think you know what goes into a home sale?
Agents keep current on real estate laws and regulations. They can change, so it helps to have someone who works in the industry.
5. Get Insight into Local Real Estate Market
A real estate agent’s knowledge of the local market saves you a lot of time. Tapping into that knowledge helps you know what to expect.
Agents can give you various information about the market and neighborhoods including:
- Homeowner association regulations
- Recent home sales
6. Access Referrals
Lenders, real estate agents, appraisers, and other related home service providers become familiar with one another. An agent knows which of those professionals are reliable and worth their fees.
Your agent may be able to help you find the right provider for your needs. Say you have poor credit. Your agent may be able to suggest a reputable lender with mortgage options for people with bad credit.
7. Get Support for Issues
What happens when your financing falls through or there’s a problem with your paperwork? What do you do if there’s a delay in the closing?
An experienced agent has seen it all. When you have someone working with you, you have a support system to help you with the problems.
Buying or selling a home can also come with emotional stress. Agents can help you manage the process with an objective, experienced viewpoint.
8. Earn More on a Sale
Typical home sales are higher when listed by an agent compared to FSBO listings. A FSBO home typically sells for $200,000. An agent-assisted sale is typically $265,500.
Part of that higher sales price goes to the buyer’s and seller’s agent commission. But you still often come out ahead when you let an agent list your home.
If you’re on the selling end, low commission real estate agents can help you save more money. These agents charge less than the standard 6% rate, 3% for the selling agent and 3% for the buyer’s agent. The lower commission means you keep more of the profits of the sale.
9. Get Help with Negotiations
How good are you at negotiations? You might be able to negotiate with your 5-year-old on cleaning her room, but going up against a pro negotiator isn’t as easy.
As a buyer, you want to negotiate the best possible price. You might ask for help with closing costs or allowances to go toward repairs. Your agent can help you figure out how much to ask for to get the best possible deal.
As the seller, you want as much as possible for your home. You don’t want to give in too much on making repairs or giving the buyer extras.
Some offers are unconventional. The average person may not know how to handle them.
What do you do if you find yourself in a bidding war? What if a buyer sends over a low-ball offer?
Real estate agents know how to handle those unique situations. They can handle the work for you to help you come out on top.
Another way agents help is by having emotional detachment. You have a vested interest in the property. Your agent can take a more neutral approach to the negotiations and help you accept that approach.
Why Use a Realtor
Using a realtor comes at a cost. But unless you have extensive real estate experience and plenty of time on your hands, that cost is worth it.
Why use a realtor? You’ll come out ahead financially, have less stress, and do less work throughout the process.
Read more about getting a mortgage and other aspects of the home buying and selling process.