By Rina Camhi, 10MinRealty
Buying and selling a home can be a daunting task for anyone, especially when it is your first time. But, it’s a process you don’t have to go through alone – that’s where a real estate agent earns their weight in gold. When homebuyers and sellers work with an agent, the entire process runs smoother and is a lot less stressful than if buyers or sellers did everything on their own. Here are reasons why working with an agent matters.
First, when looking at statistics (see the infographic below), most buyers and sellers rely on an agent. In fact, 87 percent of buyers bought their home using a real estate agent, and 88 percent of those buyers would use their agent again or recommend them to someone else. On the flip side, 89 percent of home sellers used an agent to sell their home, and in 2015, only 8 percent of homes were sold by owner, making that year the lowest share of For Sale by Owner (FSBO) sales recorded since 1981. The proof is in the pudding. Statistics also say that 48 percent of sellers who don’t use an agent will end up with a lower-than-expected selling price. On the flip side, homes listed by an agent will sell for an average of 18 percent more than if the owner sold it.
If you’re in the tricky situation of looking for a house while selling your current home, then it is even more critical that you work with an agent. Not only will they list and market your current property, but they will also help you find your new home, greatly reducing the stress of a dual transaction. Let your agent be your liaison, and take advantage of their knowledge and skills. In the end, they will help you save time and unwanted frustration throughout the entire buying and selling process.
In addition, agents know more about neighborhoods than anyone could possibly discover on their own, including information about active and sold properties, prices, etc. If you are interested in new construction, then another bonus is that agents know the individual builders in the area. Having an agent who is knowledgeable in your desired neighborhood and one who knows the history and the state of the market is crucial and beneficial to buyers and sellers. Additionally, agents have access to a wide selection of homes that are not yet listed and visible to the public, giving you a leg up on other home searchers. By working with an agent, you have a broader range of options for potential properties and your home has the potential of being widely marketed.
Home showings are one of the trickiest parts of buying and selling properties. An agent can show your listed property while you are away from the house, accommodating a larger audience of potential buyers. Conversely, in a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) scenario, when sellers show their home without an agent, they are decreasing the chances of someone buying their home due to limited showing opportunity. Buyers want to have a run of the house when viewing a property without the sellers “breathing down their neck" or sharing in detail everything they have done to the house. So, if the property is listed with an agent, then they can schedule showings readily while the seller is not present, increasing the likelihood for showings and for a sale. Vice versa, the agent can schedule showings for you so you can visit multiple properties in as little as one afternoon.
Ideally, you and your agent work as a team. It is your job to tell the agent what you want in a home, such as number of rooms, bathrooms, square footage, the neighborhood you desire to live in, etc. Then the agent goes to work, scheduling homes for you to see that meet your criteria. What you may not know is that agents have a fiduciary duty to you; they are ethically and legally-bound to represent your best and highest interest.
Not only will an agent guide you step by step through the entire process of selling or buying so that nothing is missed or forgotten, but they will also help you understand the requirements and contract terms, without which your liability increases. Finalizing contract negotiations is another area where an agent’s expertise is beneficial to you as they make sure all the paperwork is completed in a timely manner and all contract points are addressed. This can be an emotionally stressful process and the agent is there to help by guiding you step by step from contract acceptance to close of escrow.
Buying and selling a house is no easy task. Find an agent that you can trust and partner up with them for maximum advantage.