TOP 10 REASONS TO HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT
The Benefits of Working with an Agent
1. Education & Experience
You don’t need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. Henry Ford once said that when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are. The trick is to find the right person. For the most part, they all cost roughly the same. Why not hire a person with more education and experience than you? We’re all looking for more precious time in our lives, and hiring pros gives us that time.
2. Agents are Buffers
Agents take the spam out of your property showings and visits. If you’re a buyer of new homes, your agent will whip out her sword and keep the builder’s agents at bay, preventing them from biting or nipping at your heels. If you’re a seller, your agent will filter all those phone calls that lead to nowhere from lookers and try to induce serious buyers to immediately write an offer.
3. Neighborhood Knowledge
Agents either possess intimate knowledge or they know where to find the industry buzz about your neighborhood. They can identify comparable sales and hand these facts to you, in addition to pointing you in the direction where you can find more data on schools, crime or demographics. For example, you may know that a home down the street was on the market for $650,000, but an agent will know it had upgrades and sold at $585,000 after 65 days on the market and after twice falling out of escrow.
4. Price Guidance
Contrary to what some people believe, agents do not select prices for sellers or buyers. However, an agent will help to guide clients to make the right choices for themselves. If a listing is at 7%, for example, an agent has a 7% vested interest in the sale, but the client has a 93% interest. Selling agents will ask buyers to weigh all the data supplied to them and to choose a price. Then based on market supply, demand and the conditions, the agent will devise a negotiation strategy.
5. Market Conditions Information
Real estate agents can disclose market conditions, which will govern your selling or buying process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the average per square foot cost of similar homes, median and average sales prices, average days on market and ratios of list-to-sold prices, among other criteria, will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.
6. Professional Networking
Real estate agents network with other professionals, many of whom provide services that you will need to buy or sell. Due to legal liability, many agents will hesitate to recommend a certain individual or company over another, but they do know which vendors have a reputation for efficiency, competency and competitive pricing. Agents can, however, give you a list of references with whom they have worked and provide background information to help you make a wise selection.
7. Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality
Top producing agents negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled. It’s part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers, delivering buyer’s offers to sellers and vice versa. They are professionals who are trained to present their client’s case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests.
8. Handling Volumes of Paperwork
One-page deposit receipts were prevalent in the early 1970s. Today’s purchase agreements run 10 pages or more. That does not include the federal- and state-mandated disclosures or disclosures dictated by local custom. Most real estate files average thicknesses from one to three inches of paper. One tiny mistake or omission could land you in court or cost you thousands. In some states, lawyers handle the disclosures, thank goodness!
9. Answer Questions After Closing
Even the smoothest transactions that close without complications can come back to haunt. For example, taxing authorities that collect property tax assessments, doc stamps or transfer tax can fall months behind and mix up invoices, but one call to your agent can straighten out the confusion. Many questions can pop up that were overlooked in the excitement of closing. Good agents stand by ready to assist. Worthy and honest agents don’t leave you in the dust to defend for yourself.
10. Develop Relationships for Future Business
The basis for an agent’s success and continued career in real estate is referrals. Few agents would survive if their livelihood was dependent on consistently drumming up new business. This emphasis gives agents strong incentives to make certain clients are happy and satisfied. It also means that an agent who stays in the business will be there for you when you need to hire an agent again. Many will periodically mail market updates to you to keep you informed and to stay in touch.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Does an Agent Get Paid?
To understand who pays real estate commissions — whether its sellers or buyers or both — first take a look at how real estate agents are paid and how they share cooperating commissions. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know how commissions work because I’ve had clients who didn’t know, even though I had sold their home, represented them to buy a new home and then later listed that home for sale.
- Real estate agents work for a real estate broker.
- All fees paid to a real estate agent pass through the broker.
- Only a real estate broker can pay a real estate commission and sign a listing agreement with a seller.
Divisions vary. New agents can receive as little as 30% to 40% of the total commission received by the brokerage. From that amount, other fees may be deducted such as advertising, sign rentals or office expenses. Top producing agents might receive 100% and pay the broker a desk fee. Everybody else falls somewhere in between.
The most common type of listing agreement between a seller and her/his agent gives that agent’s broker the right to exclusively market the home. In return for bringing a buyer to the table, the seller agrees to pay a commission to the broker. Typically, this fee is represented as a percentage of the sales price and is shared between the listing broker and the broker who brings the buyer.
Divisions of fees among brokers is not always fair or equal, just like life. For example, a seller could sign a listing agreement for 7 apples that stipulates the listing broker will receive 4 apples and will co-broker 3 apples to the selling broker. It’s not always a 50 / 50 split. In a buyer’s market, sellers might want to consider asking the broker to give a larger percentage to the buyer’s broker. In a seller’s market, the buyer’s broker might receive less. There is no set formula.
Seller Pays the Buyer’s Commission
Under a Buyer’s Broker arrangement, the named brokerage and agent represent the buyer. The fee paid to the broker most commonly is paid by the seller. Some buyer broker agreements contain clauses that will compensate the brokerage for the fee it is due less the amount paid by the seller. For example, a cooperating listing might offer to pay a broker a smaller portion of the sales price, whereas the brokerage operates at fees that are a higher percentage. The difference of, say, half an apple, could be paid by the buyer if the broker chooses not to waive that amount.
How to find and look at homes
The home buying process typically includes the following:
Discovering the right home should be an exciting event.
My commitment is to make your home search as stress-free and efficient for you as possible.
The following will be beneficial to you in your home search:
- I will set you up to receive automated E-mails of properties that meet your criteria as soon as they hit the market.
- I will arrange showing appointments with the sellers or their representatives.
- You can use my system to evaluate each property.
- I will research your subject property history and negotiate on your behalf.