Do I Need a Real Estate Agent? Picture of house sale signHe is the typical FSBO (For Sale by Owner to you newbies out there).  He's thinking about selling.  His neighbor just closed in under a month (using a realtor, by the way).  "Do I really need a real estate agent?" he asks himself.  So he sits down with his calculator.  The real estate commission shines back at him.  His eyes pop!  Then the wheels start to spin…

“I have the internet.  I can Google.  How hard can it be to sell a house?”

Penny-wise and Pound-foolish I say.

You can Google your way through stuff like fixing a leaky toilet.  But the home selling process is very complex.  Do you really have time to google sales contracts, VA financing addendums, condominium riders, lead based paint disclosures…?  Oh, and make sure you are getting search results that apply to the state you live in.

If your answer is no, then going FSBO is not a good idea.  Here are 7 reasons why hiring a real estate agent can save you time and help you get the best sales price possible.

Reason #1 – Real Estate Agents know A LOT of people! 

How many people do you know, right now, who are looking to buy a house?  Probably not that many.  Ask a real estate agent that question and they could probably come up with a hundred names on their books.  Plus they get new names everyday from their marketing programs and funnels.  

How many people do you know who you can call for help to sell your house?  Like a licensed contractor to fix the broken window or an interior designer to help you stage your house?  Maybe if you just finished a major home remodeling project, you might have a nice list… But then hopefully you wouldn’t be moving.  

Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, contractors, engineers, architects, home stagers, bond originators, hard money lenders, just to name a few are on the contact lists of any good real estate agent and just a phone call away.  

You are not just hiring one person to help you sell your house, you are hiring a whole network of resources.

Reason #2 – Real Estate Agents know A LOT of houses

You might be an amazing "Googler".  But searching for a home requires leg work as well.  You need to physically visit neighborhoods and properties to really gain an understanding of price vs. value.  Because showing properites is their job, agents are touring neighborhoods and houses all the time.  They have a wealth of personal experience.  

Property search websites like Zillow do not have full access to MLS sites, they can only skim the surface.  There are Agent to Agent Remarks that hold valuable nuggets of information on specific properties.  Plus some of these sites are notorious for getting information wrong, such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, or square footage.  The real MLS is much more stable.

Reason #3 – Real Estate Agents know how to negotiate.  

With negotiation comes confrontation, which can be hard for some people.  Agents are professionals and they know how to keep a transaction professional and courteous while advocating for their buyer or seller.  

Reason #4 - Real estate agents know how to structure a deal.  

You’ve found a house to buy, but do you know how to ask for seller concessions? How long should your inspection period be?  What is owner financing?  

Your home inspection flagged a few big ticket problems.  Do you ask the seller to fix them or do you adjust the sales price?  

The home buying process is full of tiny, and not so tiny, details. Agents know how to navigate through the entire process.  

Remember when I mentioned VA financing addendums, condominium riders, and lead based paint disclosures…?  These are only a few of the forms and documents needed to complete a real estate transaction.  And different transactions require a different collection of documents. 

If you don’t want legal headaches, additional costs, and delays down the road, you’d better know what you’re doing when you get started.

Reason #5 – Real Estate Agents know how to buy and sell houses

You have a life. 

You have work, family, and hopefully a little bit of personal time.  How much time do you have to be a real estate agent for you house?  

Agents have made selling your house their WORK! 

So they have the time to speak with interested buyers, pre-qualify them, and schedule showings.  Will you be ready to open you home on a few hours notice?   Buyers are the product of the “have it now, Amazon overnight shipping, no wait times” society.  They may not stick around to see your property next Saturday afternoon when it is convenient to you.  

And the longer it takes to show buyers your home, the longer your home is “on the market”.  Time on market is the grim reaper of a house for sale.

Reason #6 – Real Estate Agents know how to be Objective

You lovingly installed the wall paper border in your child’s room many years ago and it is still there to bring you happy memories.   The buyers viewing your home today think it is the ugliest thing they have seen.  Do you want to hear that?  

If you had a real estate agent, you probably wouldn’t hear it.  Agents will be a barrier between the buyer and seller to keep all interaction professional and courteous.  

On the other hand, your agent should be ashamed that they didn’t bridge the conversation with you about taking the border down.  It may bring you happy memories, and you could even save a little piece for your scrap book, but a house for sale should be prepared to appeal to the widest range of buyers and that means keeping décor neutral and updated.

Reason #7 – Realtors® know how to be Ethical

Notice that this last reason I changed Real Estate Agent to Realtor®.  While every real estate agent is subject to the rules and statutes of the state they work in, Realtors® have an additional responsibility to uphold a Code of Ethics.

Both agents and Realtors® are also required to take continuing education to maintain their licensure.  

Agents work very hard to perform their services with transparency and professionalism.  Remember they rely on satisfied customer referrals for business growth.  

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The amount of time and effort involved in getting a home ready for sale, marketing it, collecting all the correct paperwork, pre-approving buyers, writing a solid contract, meeting all deadlines, coordinating all the different parties to the transaction, and ensuring the deal closes with everyone happy and satisfied is huge. 

Isn’t it worth it to have someone there to lead you through the process and answer all your questions? 

Buying and selling real estate is one of the most expensive transactions a person will experience in their lives.  Why wouldn’t you get the help of someone with experience to make sure everything goes as planned?

Do I need a Real Estate Agent?  The answer is YES!