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10 Reasons You Need a REALTOR® When Buying a Home

Whether you are a first time home buyer or have bought countless homes, the process of finding a home can be a daunting task. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the search process, then it’s time to get someone on your side to lighten the load. With everything being online these days you might wonder if you actually need a realtor to help you buy a home. Afterall, can’t you find the same information on Google? And isn’t it more expensive to use an agent? The truth is that a real estate agent has access to more information than you can find on your own and using one doesn’t change the price at all. Let’s get rid of those myths and talk about a few reasons to use a realtor when buying a home. 

  1. It’s Free

If you have never bought a home before you might be considering skipping finding a real estate agent in favor of saving money. Doing this is a mistake for a number of reasons but the first is that it will not actually save you any money at all. Generally, the money for paying the realtors comes from the seller. Both the selling and buying agent split the commission at no cost to you as the buyer. Either way you will be paying the same amount for your home. If you bring your own agent then you have a person with your best interest at heart sitting down at the negotiation table. Otherwise you are left to handle it all on your own.

  1. They’re on Your Side

Purchasing a home is a major decision that requires a great deal of background research. It would be very easy to fall down the rabbit hole and spend hours and hours looking at homes online. Luckily, you don’t have to do this. It is literally your realtor’s job to be up to date on your local housing market. Bringing in an expert will save you from wasting time trying to search on your own. 

When I say that the realtor is on your side I mean it. Real estate agents are bound by a fiduciary duty. This is a legally mandated obligation wherein they must act in your best interest. If your realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors they are also bound by that code of ethics which has a foundation in professionalism, serving the client and protecting the public.  If we take away all the legal jargon, what this is really saying is that your agent will respect your confidentiality and negotiate for you when it really counts.

If that is not convincing enough then you should know that having a professional by your side in negotiations makes a significant difference. For instance, it was reported in 2019 that 38% of buyers stated their agent negotiated a lower price for their home. Moreover, 47% of buyers say their agent helped negotiate better sales contract terms. 

  1. Access to Everything

Furthermore, real estate agents might have access to information about houses that you or I could not find on our own. You may have heard the acronym MLS thrown around but not really known what it was. MLS stands for multiple listing service. This is a private database of houses that are available in a local area. It is a cooperative database put together by realtors which provides them with updates about the newest houses on the market as soon as they become available 

  1. Schedule Showings

Imagine a beautiful house in your price range just popped up on the MLS. You know about it and are already scheduled for a viewing this afternoon because of your agent. It’s almost like having a personal assistant. As long as you clearly communicate your desires with your agent they will work hard to find the right house for you. This means scheduling showings and finding open houses that work with your life. 

  1. They Know the Area

Maybe you are looking for a home in a town that you have lived in for years. Maybe you are moving across the country and have no idea what you are getting yourself into. No matter what your familiarity with an area, it always helps to have an extra set of eyes. You might be intimately familiar with a neighborhood but by working with a real estate agent you will probably learn something that you never knew about it. As of 2019, approximately 44% of buyers agree that their realtor improved their knowledge of the neighborhood during their housing hunt. What’s more, it is the realtor’s job to know about the investment potential of your neighborhood.  Your agent can help you steer clear of areas like flood or wildfire zones or areas where the property value is not rising like it should. Your realtor is there to provide as much information as possible for you to make the best decision in buying the right home for you.

  1. Voice of Reason

It can be an incredibly emotional experience to purchase a home. For many people this is the largest purchase they will ever make. It is entirely understandable to be swept up in everything and forget to be sound and logical. Afterall, how many of us can look past some horrible wallpaper right away and see the beautiful construction? Or even worse, consider how easily you could be pulled in by some fancy looking remodeling then left with a weird floor plan or poor foundation. Your real estate agent is there to be the objective third party that points these things out to you. They are going to be practical and give you advice about things like when a simple remodel within your budget is the closest fit to your needs and best investment for your money.

  1. Home Inspection

Have you ever seen how long a home inspection report is? Let me tell you, they are long and full of words that the average person has no idea how to interpret. Luckily, you have an expert on your side who knows exactly what questions to ask. Your real estate agent will be there to help you navigate the potential issue and determine if there are any serious red flags. I could give you a laundry list of things to look out for like pests, mold, roofing issues, leaks, air conditioning and furnace age and more. But remembering all of that in the moment is a nightmare for a novice. Especially when you consider that 52% of home buyers spend less than 2 hours in a home before they make an offer. Once your realtor has explained the severity of any issues to you in layman’s terms they can then proceed to negotiate any repairs or concessions on closing costs that could be appropriate. 

  1. Paperwork

Speaking of negotiations, another benefit of using a real estate agent when buying a home is that they handle the paperwork. Paperwork of any kind can be difficult but housing contracts can be especially painful. The documents can be long and full of jargon  consequently, leaving them difficult to understand. That is why having an expert there to catch any oversights can be a godsend. I know I would not be able to stop kicking myself if I missed a costly repair credit or home warranty coverage in my contracts. With all the legal and financial contracts it provides great peace of mind to know that there is someone there to help you avoid delays and costly mistakes.

  1. Keep Things Moving

How long do you think it takes to buy a home? Interestingly, it takes on average 4 and a half months of looking before you find the right home. After that it can take another month to a month and a half once you are under contract.That is almost six months on average of navigating the housing market. Of course this timeline is affected by a myriad of factors like time of year, financing, the housing market itself and so on. Yet, it is in a realtor’s best interest to keep you from getting stuck in any part of the home buying process. Having a talented agent can speed up the home buying process at crucial moments. 

  1. Have Resources

Finally, real estate agents have access to resources that are necessary for the home buying process. Weird things come up all the time and having a real estate agent on your team can help you to sidestep any costly or time consuming anomalies simply by virtue of their job. 

Final Thoughts

At this point it would be silly not to use a real estate agent when buying a home. Who would not want a free expert to help them navigate the housing market? Using a talented agent can save you time and money on an already time consuming and expensive project. Not to mention, they will go to bat for you in all negotiations getting you the best possible deal. As long as you are using an agent that you trust you really can’t go wrong in using a realtor to buy a home. 

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