Do you need a real estate agent to buy or sell a home?
Updated: Apr 24
Buyer's agent is a real estate professional who guides the buyer through the home buying process and they have the authority to negotiate the terms of the offer with the seller. Once you select a real estate agent to work with, they may take a look at your preapproval letter, discuss about your affordability in the neighborhood. They may also help in evaluating the mortgage options possible for your financial situation. Buyer's agent also may make sure that you get to view the potential properties you have chosen, this includes making dozens of phone calls, planning the best route for showings and making sure the you get the pertinent information about the homes you are interested.
Real Estate agents have access to multiple listing services (MLS) which is one of the best services available in home buying process in the marketplace which is not accessible to the buyers. MLS is a powerful tool that alerts real estate agents about the open houses and new listing notifications. They may also have access to off-market properties. The process of buying a home involves a lot of paperwork and they may also help with communications from your loan officer or title company. They make the home buying process and the transactions to be done in a smooth and organized manner.
Seller's agent is a real estate professional who guides the seller through the home selling process and they have the authority to negotiate the terms of the offer with the buyer. They are also called as the Listing Agent. During the initial meeting, the seller's agent may discuss with the seller about the selling features of the property and may also discuss about the modifications that can be done to the property to make the home price better. A seller's agent works on behalf of the seller and has a fiduciary duty to the seller. They may help in advertising, conducting open houses and coordinating with the buyers. Real Estate agents have access to multiple listing services (MLS) which is one of the best services available in home selling process which is accessible to the buyers and the buyer's agents.
If the home price is too low, the seller's may lose a lot of money and if the home price is too high, there is a risk of the home sitting on the market for months. They also come up with the CMA (Comparative Market Analysis), which helps in fixing a correct price for the home by comparing it with the similar homes that has been recently sold.
Dual agent is a real estate professional who represents both the buyer and seller in a same transaction. Dual agency agreement is between the real estate agent, buyer and the seller. It may also occur when the agents work for the same broker or an agents represents both the landlord and tenant in a real estate transaction. In California, it is mandatory to disclose the dual agency relationship to both the buyer and seller before commencing a real estate transaction. In some states, Dual agency is heavily restricted or illegal. A dual agent has fiduciary duties to both the buyer and seller.
Benefits of having a Real estate agent when buying a home
Pricing the home right
Agents assisting the buyers may be able to assist the buyers to decide whether the home is priced correctly. They know the comps and may be able to assist the buyers in the negotiation process too. This helps the buyers to get the best deal. This helps minimize the appraisal problems by not overpaying the home. If the home is priced very high and the appraisal shows up low, there might be a risk of deal falling apart as a lot of money is needed for down payment.
Finding homes that best fit you
Usually there are a lot of homes listed in the websites like Zillow, Redfin, Trulia etc, but there are also some homes that aren't listed in these websites. Real estate agents have access to those homes and they may help you in finding the home that best suits your expectation and needs.
Dealing with Paperwork
Home buying processes involve a lot of paperwork where the Real estate agents may help the buyers through the paperwork starting with the offer letter, requesting repairs in writing, purchase agreement, understanding seller's disclosure, deed, bill of sale, transfer tax declarations etc.
Save time and energy
Looking at homes online and narrowing it down to the home that best fit your expectations can be a time consuming and extensive process. Once a real estate agent knows all your specifics, they successfully narrow it down to the homes that match your specifics and filter out the homes that doesn't match. This saves a lot of time and energy and helps in checking out the homes that best fit.
Benefits of having a Real estate agent when selling a home
Increased Visibility of your home
Real estate agents have access to the MLS website which is accessible only by the licensed real estate agents. This website is exclusively used by other agents representing potential buyers. Typically, sellers receive higher offers when assisted by a real estate agent than who sell on their own.
List at the right price
Real estate agents understand the current market data, the demand, using CMA (Comparative market analysis) to compare the price of listed home with similar homes sold within the last 6 months. So they may be able to assist the sellers to list their home price accordingly. This aids in selling the home faster as it is priced right. If the price is too low, sellers may lose a lot of money and if it is too high, they may not be able to sell the home for months with no offers.
Agents are usually well known about the current market data and they may help with the negotiation part by helping the buyers to understand what terms of the offer are worth negotiating and what are not. They may also assist the sellers to know when to accept the deal or give a counteroffer.
Dealing with paperwork
Process of selling a home involves a lot of paperwork and listing agents may help and assist you through the paperwork such as purchase contract, repairs addendum, disclosures, title work, negotiations etc.
Home presentation advice
Presenting the home in a right manner is very important to sell the home faster and for a higher price. Real estate agents may provide advice and tips to the sellers regarding presenting their home for showings in a way it might leave a lasting impression on the potential home buyers. In a multiple offer situation, they may guide the buyers by explaining them the pros and cons of the offer and may recommend when to give a counteroffer.
Filtering out unqualified buyers
Real estate agents have a lot of knowledge in weeding out unqualified buyers by asking them the right questions to determine the seriousness and motivation of a prospect. This saves a lot of time and narrow down the potential buyers. They may ask questions like are they planning to pay by cash or are they prequalified, have they been looking at any other homes etc.