Buying a home might seem relatively easy. Like shopping for a pair of shoes. You have a certain price and style in mind, you try on a few pairs, and you purchase the one that fits. Selling might seem easy too. Like having a garage sale. You price the house, find someone who wants it, earn some money, and the house changes hands. Simple, right? Turns out there's way more than goes into buying or selling a house, and there are almost 100 things a real estate agent does on either side of the transaction! If you're thinking about buying or selling, consider these reasons to hire a real estate agent:
1. Save time and energy. Real estate agents have a variety of tools available to make the buying and selling process efficient. From electronic documents to an app for scheduling showings to custom searches for homes that meet your criteria, these tools will save you a lot of time, energy, and possibly alleviate a few headaches along the way. Check out this free home search tool available for you to use.
2. Safety and security. If you're selling your house by owner, you often have to give unknown people access to your home and be there to greet potential buyers. When working with a real estate agent, you can have an electronic key box placed on your door that requires facial or thumbprint recognition by a licensed real estate agent (or licensed appraiser or home inspector) to gain access to the house. Your agent will know who accessed the box and when. You can set the times your home is available for people to view, and even approve or decline requests from your smartphone! As a buyer, you won't be touring homes alone, and your agent will help you schedule houses to view in a way that makes the most of your time.
3. Privacy and confidentiality. It's an agent's duty to keep certain information private and confidential. When buying or selling on your own, private parties do not have a duty to keep information confidential and there is little control over what information is shared with whom.
4. The paperwork. There's a lot of it! Seller's disclosures, purchase agreements, surveys, addendums, pre-approval letters, well and septic inspections, and more. Real estate agents know what paperwork needs to be done for each transaction and can explain what each document means to ensure you understand what you're signing and that you have all of the information you need to make an educated decision.
5. Fiduciary duty. Real estate agents are obligated to protect and serve the best interests of their client. They must be loyal to their client, "have their back" and ensure that their client understands all options and that every decision made is in the best interest of the client. You've got someone in your corner, an advocate, protecting you every step of the way.
6. Price guidance. You might have an idea of how much money you want to make selling your house, or what you're willing to pay for a house. But does that number match up with the value of the house according to the current market conditions? What if you pay more for a house than what it appraises for? How do you know if your house is priced to sell? Real estate agents are skilled at comparative market analysis to show you the value of your home in the current market conditions and explain how that value was derived. Get a FREE estimate of your home's value here, then let's chat about the current market conditions and hone in on the details as they related to your home.
7. Navigating the waters. Let's be realistic. With the complicated home buying process, things sometimes go awry. What happens if you find out the neighbor's fence is over the property line? Or the well doesn't pass inspection? Or the house doesn't appraise at the purchase price? Or the furnace fails between closing day and possession? Or you don't get the keys on the agreed upon possession day? What do you do? Sometimes these issues (and many more) arise. A real estate agent will help you assess the situation, lay out your options, and help you arrive at a resolution that is in your best interest.
8. Network of professionals. Real estate agents are connected with a network of trusted professionals from lenders to home inspectors to home service providers...sometimes even doggie daycares, professional organizers, or other services you might need to make your buying, selling, and moving experience more pleasant. Warm introductions to this network can help you get you the service you need and provide a variety of options to choose from.
9. Negotiation skills. There's more than one way to cook an egg. Real estate agents know lots of ways to write contracts to ensure they meet their client's best interest, are competitive and appealing, and to work through (or around) issues that may arise. There is more than price to consider when buying or selling, and your real estate agent is skilled in helping you negotiate a deal that you feel confident about.
10. Reduce stress. By working with a real estate agent, you can take some of the stress out of one of the most stressful life decisions. You have someone working behind the scenes taking care of all the details, looking out for your best interest, using their tools and knowledge to your advantage, and walking beside you every step of the way. Keep calm and let's buy or sell together!