Eight reasons to use a real estate agent (*a skilled, qualified and experienced one).

Has there ever been a time when you were feeling unwell and indulged yourself in a google search to self-diagnose? How did that work out for you? My guess is not well. Most of the time it ends in some sort of terminal diagnosis, when in actuality it’s just a papercut.

It’s common sense to visit a doctor when someone is sick, to pursue a professional who is experienced in their work and amassed many hours navigating and troubleshooting the issues in their field. The same goes for real estate. Do you really want to take a risk with what is probably your biggest asset? My guess is no.

Here are 8 reasons why hiring a real estate agent is a very smart move.

1. Exclusives & Off Market Opportunities.

Full time real estate agents have a far broader view of what’s happening in the real estate market than those who aren’t immersed in it on a day to day basis. They are knowledgeable regarding the full history of the homes in their area and best of all, have access to “exclusive” properties. Oftentimes sellers want to sell their homes but don’t want to hit the market for a variety of reasons- divorce, financial struggle, privacy- and selling it off market allows them to do that. Realtors can get you access to these otherwise inaccessible homes.

2. Money, money, money

A 2017 study discovered that homes sold by owners generally got 30% less than those sold with an agent. As a seller, whatever money is thought to be saved when not using an agent is usually lost in the inexperienced quality of the transaction itself. Oftentimes, not using a realtor creates a more costly situation as money is left on the table, homes are valued and priced incorrectly and/or expensive mistakes occur.

And as a buyer, why wouldn’t you use a real estate agent? Sellers are the ones typically responsible for the commissions paid out to real estate agents. For those buyers thinking that not using an agent will help them negotiate a lower price for the home, realtors understanding of true property value and honed negotiating skills will ensure you don’t get taken as an amateur at the negotiating table.

3. Time

We all know the saying- “time is money.” Do you really have the time to take on another job as a real estate agent? The “to do” list as a seller is quite extensive- among it, market research, comparative market analysis, staging and preparing the home, properly marketing the home (online, print, signs, social media) booking the showings, showing your home, following up with viewings, paperwork, negotiations, smoothing out the many details and so much more.
Not only will it take you longer as all firsts do, but realtors typically have a team of professionals behind them that they can reach out to at a moments notice. Basically, not only can they do the job better (as a professional), but faster, too.

4. Fiduciary Duty

Real estate agents have a fiduciary duty to their clients. In simple terms, this means that they are obligated to do whatever is in the best interest of their clients and always put their clients interests’ ahead of their own. Furthermore, confidentiality is of utmost importance. Now, let’s imagine not having a real estate agent and being required to hand over some of your most sensitive financial and personal information to a complete stranger. How do you honestly feel about that?

5. Pricing

Properly pricing your home for sale can be a true art. In depth research is absolutely essential and goes beyond simply looking at the last few sales in the area. Comparative analysis means breaking down specific features of the home and being able to objectively add or subtract value. One of the biggest hurdles in calculating the market value of your home is not factoring in subjective value – so much so that some real estate agents actually use other realtors when pricing their own home for sale! The simple fact is that some of the money you have invested into certain features of the home doesn’t translate into additional market value. And we haven’t even gotten to actual pricing strategies yet! Determining an appropriate sale price is like hitting the bullseye on a target and without a real estate agent, the experience is more like throwing a dart in the dark.

6. Contracts (it’s all in the details)

When buying or selling a home, a proper contract is there to protect you. Standard real estate contracts are lengthy, leaving ample room for mistakes. These mistakes can be costly from a financial perspective, but even more so, from a legal one. In some instances, what is suppose to protect you can actually do the opposite. Why take that burden on your shoulders? Leave it to the people who have navigated through all the potental issues that could arise and have the forethought to include what’s necessary to truly protect you.

7. Negotiating skills.

An excellent real estate agent is simply a shark when it comes to negotiating. Certifications and training aside, agents are immersed in the ins and outs of negotiation on a daily basis. Coming up against other sharks is no easy feat, meaning realtors are constantly sharpening their skills and creating tried and true techniques which are stashed in their toolbox, ready to be utilized at the appropriate moment.

Even more so, real estate agents are not personally invested in the home quite like you, the buyer or seller. Emotions can often lead to impulsive decisions that may not be necessary- for example, throwing in an extra $15,000 on a home when you may already have the negotiating chips necessary to avoid any additional payments.

8. Holding it together.

There are so many moving pieces in a real estate deal that statistically, it’s likely that some sort of issue will arise. Whether it’s a water pipe bursting the day before closing, cancelled movers and not being able to move on time, the property not appraising for contract price, financing falling through or the multitude of other possibilities, things do come up. In those moments, you will be very grateful to have a seasoned professional holding your hand and guiding you through the process.

Of course it would be naive to discount the success stories of those who have sold or purchased a home without an agent. And to them, I say- congratulations! That is no small or easy feat.

And to others, I urge you to think of some of the most successful business minds of our time- Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and so many others. One of the greatest elements of their success was their knowledge to hire people who could simply do the job better than them.