Does working with a real estate agent matter? That's a question many first-time and experienced home shoppers have, especially when they learn that real estate agents earn a commission for their service.
While it's possible to buy a home without a real estate agent, most home buyers and sellers choose to work with one because their expertise is well worth their fee.
Here's what you need to know about what real estate agents can do for you.
A real estate agent is a licensed professional who helps people buy and sell real estate. The licensing requirements vary from state to state.
Some licensed real estate agents go by REALTOR® because they have joined the National Association of REALTORS® and agree to abide by the organization's code of ethics and standards.
You aren't required to employ a REALTOR® or real estate agent to buy a property in most cases. So if you feel comfortable buying property without an agent, nothing is stopping you.
However, that does mean that you'd miss out on having a professional on your side, advising you, looking out for your best interest.
There are several impressive reasons why you'll want to use a real estate agent when buying a house.
Firstly, unless you've bought and sold many homes, you might not be aware of the housing market in your desired area. Fluctuations triggered by anything from planned developments to seasonal housing demands or even employment rates can make a big difference. Since real estate agents make it their business to know about "triggering" events, they would be well suited to advise you on getting the best deal.
They’ll also take care of most, if not all, of the paperwork that comes with real estate transactions.
And don't underestimate their expertise in negotiation! Knowing how to get more value in one part of the deal and reduce the cost in another part of the deal are two areas where real estate agents excel.
When it comes down to it, unless you're feeling supremely confident about the home buying or selling process, consider using a professional real estate agent.
The seller, not the buyer, typically pays the commission for the real estate agent or REALTOR®, and this is true about both the buyer's agent and the seller's agent. An example of the way this works is that the seller agrees to pay a 7% commission to their agent, which they split with the buyer's agent.
You might think that buying a house without an agent means you can pocket the 3.5% commission that would go to your agent, but no. That's not how most real estate transactions work.
The selling agent's contract typically agrees to pay them, the selling agent, the commission. If the buyer has an agent, the seller will pay a portion (usually half) of the commission to the buyer's agent.
However, if the buyer is not using an agent, the selling agent will often keep the full commission.
Whether you choose to employ a real estate agent or not, every home buying journey begins in the same place --applying for a home loan. Visit our website to get started and see how much you qualify for.