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Buying or Selling a Home? Why You Should Work With a Real Estate Agent

Excited couple purchasing a home and shaking hands
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Point2.

Whether buying or selling a home, working with a real estate agent is a game changer. However, many people choose not to because they think it’ll save them money.

And, while it’s true that you will have to pay their commission, the services offered by a good estate agent soon pay for themselves.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the main reasons you should never buy or sell without an estate agent.

1. The Stakes Are High

Real estate agent talking with a family
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For most of us, buying or selling a home is the largest financial transaction we’ll ever make. It’s a highly complex process, with many procedures to follow, forms to fill out, and countless legalities to be aware of.

It is possible to go it alone, but it’s all too easy to make costly mistakes and lose a lot of money along the way. In the worst case, you might even find that your actions aren’t legal.

An estate agent will guide you through the entire process, ensuring you don’t put a foot wrong.

2. You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Serious homeowner
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In the digital age, it’s easy to find out the basics of selling or buying a home, with step-by-step guides showing you how it’s done.

However, there’s far more to it than most of us can ever find out with an online search.

Real estate agents make a living out of such transactions. Thus, they’re aware of the ever-changing nature of the real estate industry.

A good agent has connections and access to the latest information — things you’d probably never find online.

3. They Know the Market Inside Out

A real estate agent shows a couple a home
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The local market is in constant flux, with house prices rising and falling according to many factors. A good agent will be in touch with the market on a daily basis, well aware of developments that can impact its evolution.

As a result, they know the true value of a property at any given time. A real estate agent will also know all the other significant numbers about your local market, such as the average time a property spends on the market.

This information lets buyers know whether they could make a lower offer or if they should go above the asking price and ensures sellers list their homes for an attractive price.

4. Agents Have Connections

Real estate agent
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A typical real estate transaction involves several individuals and service providers, such as assessors, home inspectors, contractors, real estate lawyers, and escrow services, to name a few.

A good agent has contact with all of these professionals. So, when you hire an agent, you’re also getting access to all of their trusted collaborators.

5. Expert Negotiators

Homebuyer couple talking to realtor
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The art of negotiation doesn’t come naturally to all of us. But for a good real estate agent, it’s an essential skill they would have honed over many years. An agent can help sellers and buyers alike.

Listing agents can dissect any offers they receive and provide advice on whether they’re worth considering or not.

Paired with a deep understanding of the current market and research into potential buyers, they can then help sellers respond to any offers with terms that are most likely to get a buyer to bite.

Additionally, listing agents are able to monitor and vet potential buyers, gauging their reactions and understanding their reasonings for making an offer or not.

Buying agents are also an invaluable ally. Not only can they assist in making a great offer in the first place, but they can also offer expert advice on how to respond to a counteroffer. As a result, buyers can rest assured that they’re getting the best deal.

Advantages of Buying a Home With a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agent
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Buying a home is a long and complicated process. So, it certainly helps to have someone to help you out along the way.

1. They Can Help You Find Your Dream Home

Happy new homeowners
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By considering your budget, needs and wants, a good agent can quickly hone in on your dream home.

When you go it alone, there’s always a chance you’ll go over budget or become fixated on a particular neighborhood or type of house.

However, a real estate agent will typically have enough experience to think outside the box, finding you some great homes where you might never have looked otherwise.

2. A Buying Agent Is a Step Ahead

Happy couple buying a home
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Real estate agents typically have access to the latest information, often before it’s made public. This includes brand-new listings that haven’t yet made their way online.

If they come across a listing that looks like a good fit for you, you can often be one of the first to look at it and maybe even the first to put an offer in.

3. An Agent Is Better at Researching Sellers

Senior couple meeting with a banker
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Since most of us will only buy or sell a home once or twice in our lifetimes, gaining experience in the field is difficult.

However, a real estate agent deals with such transactions daily, giving them a far deeper insight than most of us could ever wish for.

For buyers, this is excellent news, as buying agents are able to research the seller of any home you’re interested in, and their information can enable you to make the most attractive offer possible.

4. They Make Sure You’re Prepared

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As tempting as it might seem, you can’t rush into a real estate transaction. A good agent understands this better than most and will ensure you’re fully prepared for everything ahead of you when buying a home.

They will guide you through every step and ensure you fill out all the forms correctly, saving time and arming you with a solid action plan.

With an agent on your side, you have someone you can call upon to discuss any fears or concerns. Whenever you have questions or problems that need resolving, they’re just a phone call away.

Advantages of Selling a Home With a Real Estate Agent

Home for sale
Andy Dean Photography / Shutterstock.com

In an attempt to save money on the commission fee, sellers often would rather go it alone. And, while there are times when For Sale by Owner (FSBO) can work in your favor, it’s not always the best choice for everyone.

Here are some of the main advantages of hiring a listing agent instead of selling your home yourself.

1. Getting the Price Right

Couple in front of a large house for sale
Darren Baker / Shutterstock.com

One of the most challenging things to do as a seller is to set the right home price. It takes a lot of up-to-date market research and insider knowledge to arrive at an accurate figure.

The consequences of getting your price wrong can result in either:

  • Selling your home for far less than it’s worth and consequently losing out on thousands of dollars;
  • Your overpriced home staying on the market for far too long as no buyer will approach it.

A good listing agent will quickly be able to arrive at the right price for your home.

2. Professional Listings With a Wide Reach

home for sale
Andy Dean Photography / Shutterstock.com

Creating a high-quality listing yourself is possible, but you’ll need the proper photography equipment, the skills to use it, photo editing experience, and a good idea about how to stage your space.

A good listing agent can do all of this for you and more. Nowadays, an increasing number of agents are able to provide virtual tours and drone photography, offering a more complete look at your home.

With a stunning listing created, agents can reach a wider audience using MLS (multi-listing services), magazines, and their websites and affiliates.

3. Buyers Are More at Ease

A couple talks to a real estate agent
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Many buyers may be a little wary of viewing and making offers on homes For Sale by Owner (FSBO). It’s also harder for many to consider negotiating with an individual rather than a listing agent.

Those buyers who do come to view the home may be uncomfortable being shown around by the current owner. This can lead to a rushed viewing in which they haven’t voiced their concerns or opinions for fear of upsetting the current owner.

A listing agent acts as a professional go-between with whom a buyer can feel more comfortable doing business.

4. Your Major Problems Are Their Everyday Work

Real estate agent
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

During the sales process, things seldom run smoothly. For those going it alone, such problems can become significant issues.

Issues found during the home inspection or a low appraisal are enough to make the inexperienced falter, potentially leading to costly mistakes.

Meanwhile, these are everyday occurrences for a good agent, and they have a knack for solving them efficiently.

They have the contacts needed to ensure problems can be quickly fixed and the negotiating skills required to ensure you get a fair deal.

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