Best Tips for Sellers & Buyers

Buying A Home? How Working with a Real Estate Agent Will Save You Money

Buying a Home by Natasha Lingle

Why Use a Real Estate Agent

One of the most common questions that comes up when people start their house hunt or begin the process of listing their home is – do I really need a real estate agent?

Often this question is the result of a misconception that not using a real estate agent will save a buyer or seller some extra cash or that it’s easier just to negotiate independently. Most of the time, the decision to do it alone is misled or un-researched. So, we’re laying out some of the common misconceptions that will likely cause you to reconsider your decision to not work with an agent.

Doing it alone doesn’t cost less

One of the primary reasons a buyer might shy away from using a buyer’s agent is the idea that it is an added expense in the home buying process. In fact, using a buyer’s agent is absolutely free to the buyer and usually saves you money in the long run. A buyer’s agent works on commission, which is traditionally paid by the seller.

And for those sellers hoping to save a little green on their home sale, the idea of selling a home by owner is often short sighted. Because 90 percent of buyers and sellers use agents during the real estate transaction, homeowners selling their home on their own may be losing out on a huge market of buyers that want to work with an agent-listed property.

Additionally, there is something to be said for working with an agent who can list the property on MLS because 95 percent of home shoppers will go online to search for properties at some point during their house hunt. By selling a home by owner, homeowners could be eliminating a huge pool of buyers who will look to the MLS themselves or through their agent to find their dream home.

You’ll actually save money working with an agent

During the home buying process there are several ways a buyer’s agent will earn their commission. Your agent will search for homes within your criteria and sometimes even preview those homes, set up appointments to view them, and ask all the right questions during the viewings. With inventory in many places at an all-time low, a buyer’s agent is also a resource for finding properties that aren’t even on the market yet. With a good agent, there won’t be one rock left unturned.

Once you do finally decide on your dream home, the buyer’s agent will handle the negotiation process, draw up offers, schedule the inspection and oversee the escrow process. In some states a lawyer will need to be present, but in most parts of the U.S. the buyer’s agent can handle all the steps in the process!

While a cost savings is often argued when it comes to a seller’s agent, the money saved by not paying commission almost never makes up for the overall cost savings associated with using a seller’s agent that will sell your home faster and at a higher price.

According to National Association of Realtors (NAR), homebuyers who use the Internet to search for a home (which is a whopping 95 percent) are more likely to purchase a home with a real estate agent than buyers who don’t use the Internet. A seller’s agent will almost immediately list your home to every Internet outlet through the MLS, and will usually advertise your property in other places online like through social media or search engines. As a seller, you can also tap into their network of agents that are in the ear of hundreds of buyers through their agent open houses or general networking.

Additionally, do you know how to market yourself and your property without the help of an agent? What are the hot marketing methods or technologies that tap into motivated buyers so that you can sell your home quicker than your neighbor? An experienced real estate agent has a method for selling their homes as quickly as they do.

You’ll have access to everything on the market and buyers will hear about your property first

A buyer’s agent will have access to all databases and listings that might not be as readily available to someone searching for their next home. For instance, a buyer’s agent will have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Coming Soon properties and the searchable database of homes currently on the market. They can easily send listings your way when you provide your basic search criteria.

Also, because you might be too busy or focused on selling your current home, you may miss out when new listings come on the market. A buyer’s agent is focused on all things real estate all day, so your perfect home will be top of mind for them when it might not be for you. And if you’ve ever worked with a buyer’s agent yourself, you know that much of your home search is driven by the suggestions of your real estate agent.

If you’re selling a home by owner, you can almost guarantee your home will never be part of that list of suggestions from a real estate agent to their buyer. While you could save a small fraction of your selling expenses by not paying agent commission, you’ll lose a lot more with the extra time your home will sit on the market and the potential losses during the negotiation process.

Real estate agents are an excellent source of information

If you’re spending a lot of time googling information about home inspections, mortgages, title companies and laws around home buying or selling, you should instead be spending that time looking for a reputable real estate agent.

Whether you’re buying or selling, your agent will be a wealth of information. They will walk you through every step of the process without you having to consult other professionals. They can even provide names of mortgage brokers or attorneys for you to work with since they interact with these professionals on a regular basis and know who in your city has the best track record.

When you’re selling a home it’s likely you’ll have endless questions about the process and your own personal investments. Does the A/C need to be serviced before putting your home on the market? Is it worth the investment to repair the roof? Should you offer buyers closing costs or allowances for repairs? It’s almost guaranteed that many unknowns will come up and you’ll only be fully prepared if you have an experienced real estate agent to support you.

Bottom Line

Purchasing or selling a home is not a process that should be taken lightly. It’s a huge financial and personal decision so why not use all the resources available to you when purchasing your dream home or selling your existing home – especially when an agent can likely save you money or prevent unexpected expenses or mistakes! Using a real estate agent will be the easiest decision you make when purchasing or selling your home.

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Natasha Lingle is an energetic and personable real estate professional with a proven track record of success representing home buyers, sellers and investors throughout Northern Virginia. Natasha is known for her deep knowledge of the local market, tenacity, strong negotiating skills, honesty and integrity. Whether providing expert guidance to buyers or creating custom marketing plans for the sellers, Natasha delivers the highest level of customer service to all her clients.

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