You’ve finally done it. You’ve scrimped and saved for years, putting aside enough money for a respectable down payment, and you’re finally ready to buy a new home to call your own, and leave your apartment-dwelling days behind you.
So now what?
You might think, if you’re still in the “gotta save money” mindset, that you would be better served by not using a real estate agent. And on paper, it does seem like a sound plan — you avoid extra steps in the process, you don’t have to pay the middleman, and you have more control over the entire process. But here’s what’s wrong with each of those assumptions:
Simplifying the Matter. It may seem like removing an extra person from the equation will make it simpler, but the truth is, buying a house is already an unbelievably complicated equation. And the person you’re thinking of removing is the person who knows best how to solve it. Real estate agencies have access to real estate listings you might never see. Real estate agencies know the timeframes and deadlines. And real estate agencies act on your behalf to get you into the home that you want. If you’re not happy, they don’t get referrals. And real estate agencies basically live off of referrals.
Saving Money. Do real estate agents get paid for their services? Absolutely. Can you negotiate a slightly lower price if you don’t have to account for their fees? Yes, you can. But they’re not just trying to throw themselves in the middle of a random transaction and hoping some money sticks to their clothing — they’re offering their expertise and experience. Their opinion is valid, and their knowledge is invaluable. In fact, using an agent can actually help you save money in many circumstances (e.g. if they can point out some first time home buyer incentives that you might have otherwise never known about).
Setting the Terms. For some people, hiring an agent can make them feel as though they’re giving up some control of the situation. But, as stated above, real estate agencies work on referrals — if their clients aren’t happy, they don’t get more business. It is in your agent’s best interest to act entirely on your behalf, look for the types of homes you want, and negotiate a deal that works best for you. If at any point in the process you don’t feel like your agent is doing this, confront them. If they won’t change their ways, you need to find another agent.
There’s no law saying you absolutely have to buy a house using a real estate agent. You can do the research, make all the calls, find your way around the system, negotiate the price, fill out all the forms, file all the correct paperwork… or you can hire a professional, who will do it faster, more efficiently, and with the training and experience to handle whatever situation might arise. It’s money well-spent. Get more info here.