Buying a home is one of the most important decisions that we make in our lives. In addition to being a significant financial investment, the process also involves a great deal of emotions. After all, it’s the place where we will spend our free time, raise our family, and rest.
Determining whether to hire a real estate agent or not is a major decision that homebuyers need to make. Many opt for navigating the homebuying process on their own, assuming that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to do this successfully.
The truth is, a good real estate agent can offer irreplaceable support—especially to first-time homebuyers with no previous experience in closing real estate deals and out-of-state buyers with no knowledge of the local housing market.
In this article, we will take a look at why buying a home without a real estate agent is a bad idea and how doing so can actually lead to a smoother homebuying experience.
Homebuyers Have Limited Knowledge of the Real Estate Market
Buying a home does not require expertise on the local real estate market. However, purchasing a good home (in a good neighborhood at a good price) does necessitate a significant amount of knowledge. Unless you are a real estate professional yourself, you are unlikely to know much about US housing market trends. This makes it easy to go for a suboptimal neighborhood within your city or overpay for a property. Things become increasingly more complicated if you’re relocating, as you will be looking for a home in an unfamiliar area.
The best way to avoid this risk is by hiring one of the top brokers or realtors in the area. An experienced real estate broker will know the best neighborhoods for your specific homeownership needs, preferred property type, and budget. Moreover, they will be able to easily discern between a solid home and a distressed one. Last but not least, they will know if the asking price is right based on local trends. If it is not, they will help you negotiate a price that is close to the fair market value.
So instead of shooting in the dark or wasting months trying to learn about the housing market, you are much better off working with someone who is already a local expert.
Buying a Home Requires Access to Valuable Sources of Real Estate Listings
Recent advancements in technology have provided even first-time homebuyers with access to a plethora of house hunting apps and websites. You can also rely on your network to get leads on current listings, or even drive around the neighborhood of your choice to look for For Sale signs.
However, no matter which strategies you apply, you simply cannot match the inventory of active listings that real estate agents have access to. First, the MLS is the largest database of residential real estate properties for sale across the US and it is reserved exclusively for brokers and realtors. While some mobile apps and online platforms provide MLS listings, none of them have the complete list of properties that an agent will.
Second, top real estate agents with extensive experience and networks in the local market are familiar with off-market homes. These are properties that are currently available for sale, but have not been published on the MLS or other major real estate databases for whatever reason. These typically include for sale by owners (FSBOs), foreclosures, and distressed properties, but they are often perfectly acceptable homes that are not available to the wider public. The main benefit of off-market properties is that they usually come at discounted prices and face less competition from other homebuyers and their agents.
Essentially, your agent is guaranteed to offer you different types of listings that you simply cannot locate or access on your own. This will not only shorten the house hunting time, but also provide you with a wider range of homes for sale to choose from.
Future Homeowners Do Not (Necessarily) Possess Top Negotiation Skills
Once you have located a house that you can imagine yourself living in, the next step in the process is to make an offer. However, most people have no idea what goes into creating a strong, competitive offer that has a high chance of being accepted by the homeseller over others. And this is particularly important in a tough market like the one we have experienced in the past couple of years. In addition, making an offer is not the last step to homeownership. There is still plenty of negotiation that can go back and forth between the homeseller and the homebuyer until the final terms are established and accepted by both parties.
This is one more area where working with a good realtor can be indispensable. Brokers and agents are experienced and skilled salespeople, which makes them excellent negotiators. You cannot compete with the expertise of the seller’s agent if you opt for buying a home without your own buyer’s agent. A professional will be able to get you the best price in the market and best overall deal.
If you’re concerned about the commission that you will need to pay the agent there is no need to be. In the US market, both the buyer’s and the seller’s agent fees are covered by the property seller.
Buying the Best Home Involves Different Experts and Professionals
Last but not least, keep in mind that buying a home on your own still requires the participation of many different individuals. This includes lenders, mortgage originators, home inspectors, appraisers, attorneys, and even contractors in the event that the home you buy requires fixes or upgrades. Finding the best local expert for each of these positions will take a lot of research and time, with no guaranteed results.
Meanwhile, if you hire a good real estate agent with a well-established network, they can provide you with leads for these professionals. This will save you a lot of time and effort and optimize outcomes. In a way, a realtor helps streamline the process of buying a home and makes it much less stressful.
Finding the Best Agent for Buying a Home
As we have established above, working with an agent comes with many advantages from homebuyers’ point of view. However, to enjoy the most positive experience and get the best results, it is important to hire a top real estate agent rather than the first realtor that comes your way.
To help you get started, here are the most important signs to look out for when choosing the right agent:
Strong online presence and reputation
Positive online reviews by clients
Proven real estate market experience and expertise
Solid number of recent transactions and active listings
Short average days on market
Works for a credible brokerage firm
If you’re not sure where to search for a realtor with all of these qualifications, Landslo can help. Our digital real estate assistant helps match homebuyers with the most appropriate agent from our database of vetted real estate experts. The process works by evaluating the specific needs and requirements of each individual homebuyer to pair them up with the most suitable local realtor. All you need to do to get started is sign up for Landslo. Remember: it won’t cost you anything!