8 Reasons You Still Need A Real Estate Agent
Are real estate agents a necessary evil?
About 6 months ago, my neighbour decided to sell his house.
He reckoned that he could beat the local real estate market and ‘move the property quickly’.
It can’t be that difficult, right?
After all, he thought he could get the job done in a much shorter time frame, at a substantially cheaper cost, and without any of paperwork hassles involved with all those real estate agents!
Here we are today, and my neighbour still hasn’t managed to sell it!
He reluctantly admitted the other day that looking back, he should have gone with a real estate agent instead.
“It might have been more expensive, but these agents would have sold my property long time ago!”
“If only I knew how complicated this legal stuff actually is in getting one’s property sold!”
“I’ve written 7 offers to purchase contracts thus far, and they’ve all fallen through, for a bunch of different reasons! Affordability being the most popular one!”
An old adage says, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur!”
Even though we can all try and Google our way through our tax returns, or perhaps give it a shot at legally representing ourselves in court, is that really something we would necessarily do?
Is it similarly penny-wise and pound-foolish not to be using a real estate agent?
A lot of services nowadays are becoming redundant, but I personally believe that real estate agents will need to remain part of the real estate transaction for a number of reasons:
Reason #1 – Real Estate Agents Have The Necessary Connections To Get The Job Done
Every homeowner looking to sell his house by himself needs to ask the following few questions:
(1) How many people does the average homeowner know who is actively looking for a house?
I vaguely remember we get exposed to 7 people a year in our immediate sphere of friends who are looking to buy, sell or rent.
Ask the same question to any decent real estate agent and he will very likely ask you if you have 15 minutes time, as it might take a while to go over the 100’s of names he knows!
(2) How many people does the average homeowner know who’s active in the real estate community, who might assist with the process of buying and selling a house?
Any mortgage brokers, bond originators, real estate attorneys, real estate agents, conveyancing attorneys, home inspectors, interior designers, landscape architects, home stagers, etc they might know by name that made the list?
Real estate agents have all of the above on their speed dial!
As soon as a new property listing gets on their books, this entire network will be accessed and the wheels will be set in motion to help find a buyer suitable for the property, as well as provide any professional assistance in answering potential questions the home seller might have during the course of the home selling process.
(3) Whether you’re looking to relocate to Caldwell, Idaho or looking to buy property in Northcliff, Johannesburg, how strong do you recon your home searching skills are?
Plenty of property portal websites or MLS sites to scour through to find potential properties which you might like to view.
Are you aware that a lot of real estate agents have properties on their books, which aren’t publicly listed yet, or know of potential properties going on the market in the next few days?
How familiar are you with the details of the interested neighbourhood you’re looking to buy into? Any idea on the proximity of schools, shopping facilities, safety figures, walkability scores?
Finding neighbourhood information online might be tricky, as the chances are good that the real estate agent in that area won’t have any neighbourhood or community page up yet!
Thus, the local real estate agent is a great source for such information, as he should be able to share any particular info about that neighbourhood in a flash!
In the end, it’ll be thanks to the real estate agent’s active network of all these people mentioned above (and many more!) who will be involved in successfully getting all parties to that closing table!
Reason #2 – Real Estate Agents Know Negotiations Can Be A Tough Business
As much as some people dislike getting into confrontations or negotiations, it is a necessary element of any real estate transaction!
At what point do you play open cards? If ever?
Do you hold back, as they might be bluffing or do you have to now call their bluff?
The home inspection report came back with quite the itemized list. Which repairs are you willing to do vs. demanding the buyer to take some on as well?
Ever been caught up in a bidding war trying to get the same house together with 5 other couples?
These are but a few of the situations touched upon during negotiations!
So, let me ask you: how strong are your negotiation skills in each and every one of the situations described above?
Still keen on selling your home by yourself?
Reason #3 – Real Estate Agents Have A Code Of Ethics To Follow
Unlike your average Joe or Jane home buyer and home seller, real estate agents need to follow a strict code of ethics.
Most countries offer an optional membership to the national trade group association, whether it be the National Association of Realtors in the USA, or mandatory membership to the Estate Agency Affairs Board in South Africa, which all require their members to hold themselves to an even higher ethical standard than other real estate agents!
If things were to go awry along the way (before, during or after the transaction), and a formal complaint against the real estate agent is filed, the involved real estate agent will need to justify his (in)actions to his principal broker, or even higher up at the Board!
Complaints are taken very seriously, as reputational damage of the respective real estate brand can turn out to be a very costly experience!
Besides actually providing a great service to the home buyer and/or home seller (after all, isn’t that what being a real estate agent is all about?!), another major incentive for real estate agents to make sure they not only adhere to the code of ethics, is the potential referral business.
The topic of buying and selling real estate at a family party or friends’ gathering is a very popular one!
How better to get your personal brand promoted by your home buyer (or seller) than a personal recommendation!?
Ask any real estate agent who’s been around for at least a handful of years, how much business they get from referrals?
You might be surprised!
How likely is the average home buyer or seller going to care whether your entire real estate transaction went smoothly or not?
As long as s/he got what they want (i.e. buy or sell the house), they will disappear out of your lives shortly after.
Related article: How To Interview A Real Estate Agent When Selling Your Home
Reason #4 – Real Estate Agents Know Buying And Selling Real Estate Can Get Very Complicated
It really comes down to one word: expertise.
Can you book a last minute tour to Kenya by yourself? Sure!
Are you going the same route when organizing your 10-year wedding anniversary luxury safari, where you’re paying $25,000 per person? Or will you ask your local travel agent, experienced in safaris for help, organizing and booking of it all?
With the internet providing you with plenty of investment options, how will you go about investing your $1,000,000 retirement money? Or will you ask the help of a professional financial adviser?
Buying and selling real estate is one of life’s most expensive transactions you’ll ever make!
Even dealing with all-cash real estate transactions, there are still a lot of complications that come into play, and might jeopardize the entire transaction.
You need someone with experience dealing with these matters, just to make sure everything is going the way it is supposed to!
Reason #5 – Real Estate Agents Are Knowledgeable How To Work With Contracts
In case you haven’t noticed, real estate jargon should almost be considered as a language on its own!
Besides the more obvious 3B/2B acronyms used, some of the property listing descriptions truly need a translator to actually be understood what they are possibly trying to say!
How about that easy freeway access? In other words, they’re likely to be referring to a noisy arterial street close to the freeway!
Or, how about that territorial view, which is real estate speak for the great view of your neighbour’s bedroom window!
Real estate really comes up with its own real estate terminology, and unless you have experience dealing with this, a lot of it might be lost on you.
Along the same lines, there are so many reports, technical documents, disclosures and contract forms you need to fill out to be buying or selling a house, that you better know what you’re doing!
Any steps or documents you might have skipped along the way, will translate into unnecessary delays.
Many home seller mistakes can be so easy to avoid, yet so costly if they occur!
Related article: Top Reasons Why Your Offer To Purchase A House Was Rejected
Reason #6 – Buying And Selling Real Estate Is Their Only Priority
Remember how hectic your schedule can get trying to juggle your professional life and family time?
Recall how all of that changed once the children were put into that equation?
Somewhere in there, you still have hobbies you would like to do as well!
Now that you’re thinking of selling your home by yourself, how do you think that will fare with everything else you’ve got going on?!
How timely will you respond to incoming enquiries from interested buyers?
How soon will you be able to take them through for a viewing? And tomorrow’s new buyers? And what about this weekend’s requests for viewings?
Some may want to view the property right there and then, others would like to schedule a viewing appointment this evening, tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, this weekend etc.
You get my drift!
A real estate agent only has one goal in life: selling houses.
The only thing they do is getting properties on their books and scheduling appointments with interested home buyers to go for viewings.
Day-in, day-out, 24/7, so to speak!
The longer it takes you to respond to buyer enquiries and arrange to view the property to potential buyers (have you pre-approved them?), the longer the property stays on the market!
And as we all know, days on market is one of the home seller’s biggest enemies!
Going with or without a real estate agent can mean the difference between getting your home sold in 4 weeks or 4 months!
Which do you prefer?
Reason #7 – Real Estate Agents Have The Ability To Be Objective
Every real estate agent can tell you incidences of interested home buyers totally slamming the property they’re being shown.
Whether they’re genuinely disgusted by the 1960’s look of the wooden kitchen, which the (grandfather) home seller proudly built himself over the period of a month, or whether it’s part of the buyers’ overall strategy of making sure to keep pointing out the negative
They might genuinely be disgusted by the 1960’s look of the wooden kitchen, which the (grandfather) home seller proudly built himself over the period of a month. Or it might be part of the buyers’ overall strategy of making sure to avoid saying any good thing about the property at hand, and actively focus on expression negative criticism, all with their ultimate goal of putting in a low-ball offer?
Those types of comments aren’t likely to get a warm welcome by the home seller himself.
If these potential buyers end up putting in an offer to purchase the house, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched for the home seller to reject the offer, without even bothering with a counteroffer!
Any home seller will have a tough time hearing over and over again by these supposedly-interested home buyers what’s all wrong with the house!
Getting a real estate agent involved avoids any of these problems, as none of those comments would be taken personally.
Furthermore, the real estate agent will know how to delicately deliver those buyers’ feedback to the home sellers, without all the drama involved!
Reason #8 – Real Estate Agents Commissions Are Worth It
A real estate agent wears sooo many different hats over the period of a real estate transaction, depending on the particular circumstances (which can be at pretty much any moment of the day)!
The guidance they provide can be very broad: from the start where they hold your hand through the staging phase in preparing your home prior to marketing, explaining all the paperwork involved in selling a home, how the different parties of lenders, attorneys etc fit into the big picture, positive/negative client feedback, negotiation time, to driving around town right before closing trying to get that one item the buyers definitely wanted included in the deal, yet had been removed the day before closing!
Don’t misunderstand me here: the 5-6% commission cost is worth it, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap!
What still amazes me are those home sellers who prefer to sell their own homes (and let’s assume they actually sell), and end up with a sale price quite a bit below what an experienced real estate agent could have gotten them!
Whatever the amount they save on commission, they’ve lost (and more!) in the final sale price!
Again, penny-wise, pound-foolish, anyone?
Sure, they don’t have to pay any real estate agent’s commission now, but they went through the entire home selling experience themselves.
All their time and effort spent on showing interested buyers around, crossing fingers that they’ll make an offer, once an offer is in, will it fall through again as these buyers will unlikely be pre-approved, etc.
Having a real estate agent involved will not only cut down on your days on market, it will very likely result in stronger negotiation sessions where the real estate agent will bargain you more money than you could have done by yourself!
And that’s after having netted for commission!
Of course, you could try and sell your home by yourself, but that’s not the point.
In the end, if you tally up everything you had to do, all the things you had to endure from those sometimes difficult home buyers, are you still of the opinion that it was the best decision you could have made to sell the house by yourself?
Let me rephrase that: having gone through a home sale process all by yourself, would you go through it again with your next home? Will your wife agree with your answer?
Still unsure whether going with a real estate agent to sell your home is the best way forward?
Feel free to drop me an email and I’ll happily expand!
— Xavier De Buck (@XavierDeBuck) June 28, 2016
Other Interesting Real Estate Agent Articles:
- Great Negotiating Tips For Real Estate via Paul Sian
- Good Reasons Why Sellers Need to Hire A Real Estate Agent via Anita Clark
- Choose A Realtor By Asking Great Real Estate Interview Questions via Bill Gassett
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About the author: The above article “8 Reasons You Still Need A Real Estate Agent” was written by Xavier De Buck, your top-producing Johannesburg real estate agent. Xavier has been nationally recognized and awarded for providing service excellence, exceptional property sales, whilst exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. With over 15 years combined experience as a real estate agent and real estate investor, if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Johannesburg, Xavier would love to share his property knowledge and expertise.
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