In this day and age when real estate websites post listings online, and when “For Sale By Owner” signs have been seen for decades, you may wonder why you even should use a real estate agent?
Maybe you have a take-charge personality… or maybe you don’t want to lose out on extra money. But there are actually five great reasons why you should use a real estate agent.
Reason 1: Real Estate Agents are Area Experts
Good real estate agents know the neighborhoods. They know the competition in the area – “why is this house selling at $200,000 but this very similar one only $175,000?” They understand your needs and what you’re looking for. You may not know what’s overpriced, what neighborhood’s on the rise, or what area gets extra busy at rush hour.
Debbi Nick of Conlon/Christie’s says, “you really want to work with someone who understands how you live and what is important in a neighborhood. For example, if you are walking your kids to school, does House A have you crossing a busy street? Or is House B within easy distance of public transportation?”
Nancy Gaspadarek of @properties adds, “Although housing information is ubiquitous on the internet these days, nothing compares to a local expert who has insider knowledge of the marketplace and valuable expertise to help you get the best possible deal.”
Further, many websites have restrictions on what you can search for. An agent who knows what’s on the market can help you find homes that include unsearchable criteria, such as high floor units or laundry room on the second floor.
Reason 2: Pocket Listings
While it’s true that the data that’s listed on the MLS is hosted on third-party websites, it’s false that every home that’s available is listed on the MLS. These types of listings that aren’t officially listed for sale yet are called “pocket listings.” Mike Opyd of RE/MAX NEXT says, “Pocket listings are very popular with inventory being so low in Chicago. Using an agent with a good network to find the listings is great because then you don’t have to deal with multiple offers.”
Danielle Dowell of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff states, “If you are in the top 5% of agents, you get invited to an off-market program,” and mentions that if she knows her clients want a specific type of house, she knows which agents have those types of homes available, and can reach out to them first.
Reason 3: Ethics
Many real estate agents are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Those that are, subscribe to a code of ethics that prevents lies and manipulation of clients. It protects all the parties involved from making deals with false information. Included in this are rules such as treating all parties honestly, refraining from exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of facts, cooperating with other realtors, etc.
Michael Mandile of @properties further explains, “As far as ethics go, as brokers we have very strict rules and regulations to follow. If we are caught in any way shape or form disobeying the guidelines implemented on a local or state level we can face serious fines, suspension, or even a permanent loss of license. When dealing with a for sale by owner or someone who is not licensed they may not know, they may assume, or simply may not care. When dealing with a broker you are protected, and your best interest is always looked after.”
Reason 4: Negotiation Skills
Everyone wants to get the best price possible when buying or selling a home. If you’re buying, you want to buy for the least amount possible. When you’re selling, you want to sell for the most amount possible.
Gaspadarek explains the Chicago market in relation to negotiation with, “In the vast majority of Chicago neighborhoods, housing supply is not keeping up with buyer demand which puts many buyers in a multiple offer situation. They will outline a variety of strategies you can consider using should you find yourself in a situation where more than one person falls in love with the same home as you.”
Mandile further explains why negotiation skills are important when he says, “You cannot put a price tag on what an agent has learned in the field, been taught, or experienced. Although you can list a property for sale [as a for sale by owner] thinking you will save money on the commission, you can lose that or more by not knowing the back end of making a deal. It’s a poker hand, and the more confidence and experience you have the better.”
Reason 5: Agents Are Buffers
When you have an agent on your side, you have someone in your corner going to bat for you and help explain things to you. On the buyer’s side, they keep spam and people trying to take advantage of you away, and on the seller’s side, they can block the lookie-loos and keep the time-wasters away.
Opyd reveals another great way agents can act as buffers, “A buffer in a sense that they hear both sides and can translate/filter it. If someone is upset, the agent takes the brunt of that. People can get personal since this is personal property and a lot of money is involved. Inspection requests can be taken wrong when a buyer just wants to protect themselves. If you talk about gutting a kitchen when the owner put their heart and soul into it… and developers take everything personal. The agent’s job is to put the deal together and keep it together.”
Dowell goes on to say, “With this market and having so many multiple offers, getting you the deal is THE deal because that’s so much of the battle. Deals can fall through with inspections and cold feet both on buyer and miseducation, the market, feeling like they overpaid, and what to expect with all the services and the rates you’ll get between the different banks and lenders.”
So with that agent helping prepare you and guide you through the process, there will be less cold feet and more closings! Hopefully, these reasons have shown you why it’s so helpful and beneficial to use a real estate agent.
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