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Section 8: Hire An Agent Or Buy Alone?

There are online services designed to assist buyers with handling their own real estate transactions.  There are also a variety of major benefits to retaining the services of a professional real estate agent.

More Access To The Real Estate Market

A real estate agent has better access to the market, and more knowledge of local conditions.  The agent is a full-time liaison between sellers and buyers.  Buyers' and sellers' agents know how to put a real estate transaction together.

A real estate agent will track down homes that meet your criteria, contact sellers' agents, and secure appointments for viewing the homes.  Buyers on their own have a more difficult time.

Negotiating Is Harder On Your Own

A real estate agent will keep the transaction "at arm's length", such that personalities and emotions do not become involved.  Negotiations require the understanding of the psychology of negotiation and bargaining, offer and counteroffer.  Agents keep the transaction dispassionate.

Contractually Speaking

There are several contracts and documents involved in purchasing a house.  Unless you are in the real estate business yourself, these will almost certainly be foreign to you.  Yet, they require detailed and accurate completion.  Buying property is not necessarily a "fill in the blanks" transaction and any mistake in the extensive documentation needed could haunt the buyer well down the line after purchase.

An experienced real estate agent deals regularly with these contracts and conditions and is familiar with how to use them to protect you.

You Won't Necessarily Save Money

The point of not using a real estate agent is usually to save money, but it is unlikely that both buyer and seller will reap the benefits of not having to pay commissions.  An owner selling on his own will likely price the house based on sale prices of comparable properties in the area.  Many of these properties will be sold with the help of an agent; therefore, the seller gets to keep the commission that might otherwise be paid to an agent.

Buyers looking to purchase a home being sold by owners without an agent may also believe they can save money on the home by not having an agent involved and make an offer accordingly.  However, unless buyer and seller agree to split the savings, they cannot both save on the commission.

Below is a short list of advantages using a real estate agent can bring to your buying experience:

  • Education & Experience

  • Agents are buffers

  • Neighborhood knowledge

  • Price guidance

  • Market conditions

  • Professional networking

  • Negotiation skills & Confidentiality

  • Handling volumes of paperwork

How To Hire A Good Agent

How do you find a good agent who meets all the criteria and has the right qualities to find you the house you want and need?  A good agent will have knowledge of the homes in your areas of interest,  They will be informed of everything you need to know about the property.

Doing an interview will help you find the agent you are looking for.  The purpose of interviewing should be to check the qualities of the agent.  Is this agent the right fit for your home buying process?  Do they have the qualities you are looking for in an agent?  The agent must have a history of ethical behavior, moral aspects, working capabilities, ideas, and motivation for their work.

Below are some traits to look for when hiring an agent:

  • Current?  Is the agent up-to-date with the latest housing trends so that you can be served effectively?

  • Connected?  Does the agent have the necessary contacts to assist in every phase of buying a home?  A network of connections should include home inspectors, quality service people, and other brokers.

  • Knowledgeable?  Is the agent familiar with the current market and able to help with price issues strategically?

  • Organized?  An agent must pay close attention to your specific needs well and be quick to follow leads and communicate.

  • Personable?  Agents who are sincerely interested in helping you will "go the extra mile with a smile".

  • Passionate?  Some agents treat their job like their hobby or just a way to earn extra income.  Find an agent who is passionate about real estate and loves their job;  you will find they work harder, longer, and produce better results.

  • Tenacious?  Successful agents possess a strong work ethic.  They will not be put off by the long hunt to find you a home.

  • Honest?  Professional real estate agents build their reputation on high standards of business practices.

  • Self-motivated?  Real estate agents are commission-only business people.  Successful agents work hard because what benefits their customers also benefits them.

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