Why You Need A Real Estate Agent When Buying A Home

From time to time, I get a buyer who calls me and says something to the affect of, “I don’t need an agent. I’m just going to use the listing agent so I can save money.” That’s not an unreasonable thought. There are unlimited resources on the internet these days, but a seasoned agent has some distinct advantages. And when it comes to purchasing the single most expensive asset you’ve ever purchased in your life, an asset that will not only cost you money but will be a heavy influence on your overall happiness for the next decade or so, wouldn’t you want to take every step to ensure you get the right house, at the right price and under the right terms? It is certainly your perogative to do whatever you want, but please invest 5 minutes of your time into reading the rest of this article and then proceed as you wish. 

 

WINNING CONTRACT EXPERTISE

In a seller’s market, properties that are marketed properly, in great shape, and priced right, are getting multiple offers within a couple of days. If you want to compete for those properties, you need an experienced agent who will go the extra mile to first, know about them in time, and then, put you in the best position to get that property. Granted, not all properties are in multiple offer situations. But the best ones are. So, do you want a fair deal on the best property available or do you want to save a couple of percent on the best of the properties no one has wanted so far? 

 

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE EXPERTISE

Real estate agents have first-hand knowledge of the real estate market in which they specialize. Yes, you know which homes are available on Zillow and those are 99% of the homes listed for sale. You likely don’t know exactly what the market is like right now in your area. The best way to get an offer accepted at a price that’s in your favor is to know the market intimately, and a seasoned, professional, full-time, local real estate agent does.

True story: I was selling a house in Lake Forest Subdivision about a year ago. (in Cumming off of 369) A guy called me to ask me about it. He made a point to tell me he has a real estate license, and he focuses on commercial property but wants to save the commission on whatever house he buys. The house he called me about went under contract with a different buyer within a day. I never hear from him again. Almost a full year later, I list my 3rd home that year in the subdivision. I get a call from someone and his name pops up on my called ID. I didn’t recognize the name but we had obviously spoken before because I had his number in my phone. Turns out, it’s the same guy from a year ago. Now he wants to see the new listing I have. It’s been A YEAR!! He’s been looking for the right house for A YEAR!! The houses he wanted went under contract before he got to them. The ones he got to in time, he didn’t want.

I agree to meet him at my latest listing to show it to him. On my way there, we end up going binding with another buyer. I call him to let him know. He says he still wants to see it and he might make a back-up offer. I show it to him. He loves it. It’s perfect. Not only does he make a back up offer but he straight up tells me he’s willing to pay an extra $10,000 if the first contract falls through. The first buyer closes and he doesn’t get the house he’s been looking for for a year. I sit down with him (technically we were standing, but we were leaning a bit and I can take some creative license if I feel like it :)) and discuss the series of events. I explain to him that if I were looking for commercial office space, even though I have a real estate license and I can represent myself, I probably shouldn’t. I probably should hire an expert, like him, if I want to protect myself and get the right property. Honestly, I thought he was going to tell me to pound sand but he said, “Yeah, you’re right. Send me over the agreement”, which I did. I was able to find him several off-market properties to consider and, within a month of us first meeting, he found the perfect house in the subdivision he wanted and that’s where he’s living right now. 

 

CONTRACTS/AMENDMENTS/EXHIBITS EXPERTISE

People like you have been utilizing people like me to buy real estate for 150 years. And over those 150 years, gaggles of attorneys have written, re-written, modified and re-modified documents for almost every possible issue that has ever come up in the history of real estate. A Purchase and Sale Agreement, alone, is 8 pages long. Typically, another three pages of disclosures, 2 page HOA exhibit, financing contingency exhibits, appraisal contingencies…it goes on and on. Agree with me on this, when you have 15 pages of ANYTHING written by attorneys over 150 years, you create an endless number of opportunities for someting to get screwed up and someone to get siginificantly financially damaged. A buyer’s agent knows how to write an offer with the best possible terms to help ensure that your interests are protected and that your offer is accepted.

 

True story. I represented the seller of a house that was built in the mid 90’s. The area around it had grown a lot and new homes were being built in subdivisions on two sides. I sold the house to a buyer who technically had an agent but the agent wasn’t charging them anything so they were basically on their own. Their agent was just going to credit them her commission on the closing statement. Totally legal. No worries. Fast forward a month or so, they close on the house and we all go about our business. A few months later, I get a call. The buyers are upset because the new homes builder is building a home REALLY close to their house. WAY closer than they thought it would be. They wanted to know why I didn’t tell them houses would be built so close to theirs. I told them that, first of all, they never asked. And, second of all, had they had a professional, full-time real estate agent, that agent would have encouraged them to have a survey done for the property prior to purchasing it. I know I would have advised my client to do that. But they weren’t my client and that wasn’t my responsibility. So, they saved around 11k on the commission by using their part-time, barely existent realtor, and the construction 20 feet from their back door is probably costing them…..I don’t know…..I’ll guess at somewhere between 20k and 50k. Remember this, everything is smooth with a real estate transaction until it’s not and then everyone wishes they had known what they know now. Hire a professional! 🙂 

 

NETWORKING EXPERTISE

Do you know how many houses get sold without ever hitting the market?!?!?! I don’t either. 🙂 But it has to be a lot because we’ve done many ourselves and we’re just one real estate team. We’ve door-knocked entire neighborhoods trying to find a house for buyers who’s existing house is under contract and they have to be out in 5 weeks and they have nowhere to go. When a buyer commits to us, we stop at nothing to get them the house they want. We know who the other active agents are in specific areas. We have relationships with them. When we have a motivated buyer who can’t find anything that’s actively listed for sale, we can go to those contacts to try to identify properties that are coming on the market soon. This is a huge benefit to a buyer when they are trying to find their dream home.

 

True story: I met a nice couple who were looking for a home on the lake. They had looked and looked but hadn’t found anything. I explained my value and they hired me to be their agent. We looked and looked and looked. Finally, after one showing, they said to me, “We hate this particular house but we love this neighborhood.” I said, “OK, give me a few days and let me see what I can do.” I then went door to door down the street introducing myself to every homeowner and asking them if they’d have any interest in selling their home. I found TWO that were. 🙂 Now, this story doesn’t quite end the way you thought it was. Turns out my buyer didn’t like either of the houses i found but both sellers hired me to sell thier homes and I did sell them.:) And then I found an unlisted property for my buyer through a networking relationship with another agent in the area.


THERE IS NO ADDITIONAL COST

Having an agent on the buy-side is free. People have an idea that they’ll save money by not using an agent to buy a home and that does indeed happen……sometimes. People go to Vegas and become millionaires, too. But, overall, it’s not common. A seller signs a listing agreement with a broker. The seller agrees to pay a certain commission to the listing broker upon the successful sale of the property. That’s the end of the seller’s flexibility. The listing broker then agrees to share a portion, most often half, of the total commission, with the buyer’s agent’s brokerage, but the total commission doesn’t have to change. If the buyer is attempting to buy the property without the representation of a a professional agent, that does not automatically affect the commission paid by the seller. They agreed to pay a commission to the listing broker in exchange for the services of getting the home successfully sold.

 

FIND THE RIGHT AGENT

Choosing the right agent for you is just as important as choosing to have an agent at all. Ultimately, you will want an agent who’s knowledgeable, professional, responsive, full-time, dedicated and who has no conflict of interest with the other parties to the transaction. When you have an agent representing both the buyer and seller in a transaction, it can be a major conflict of interest.

 

SUMMARY

Can you save some money representing yourself in a transaction? Yes, it’s possible. Can you go to Vegas and become a millionaire overnight? Yes, it’s possible; happens every day. But the money you may save is likely around 1.5% of the purchase price and the money you could lose by not utilizing someone who specializes in the buying and selling of real estate, can be tens of thousands of dollars. I’ll freely admit that once in awhile I get a commission check and I think to myself, “Self, I was WAY overpaid for the work and expertise I put into this transaction.” However, for every one of those transactions, there are 5 more where I walk away thinking how severely underpaid I was for everything I had to do to get that transaction to the closing table. 

For a summary of all of the issues that we will be battling through for you, see the following link: https://www.wegetresults.com/101-possible-issues-checklist/

 

True story. Buyer buys a house. Three months later the septic field is determined to be in failure and needs to be completely replaced. Total cost will be about $15,000. Unrepresented buyer didn’t have the septic field inspected prior to purchasing. The seller truly had no idea that the septic field was about to fail. An inspection would likely have brought the faulty septic field into the open and buyer and seller could have negotiated a compromise that would work for them both prior to closing. Or, if they could not have come to an agreement, buyer could have walked away, or at least would know that they had a major expense coming up. Instead, buyer was irate and screaming and leaving nasty messages and threatened to sue everyone she could think of, but, it turns out, no one did anything wrong. There was no one to sue. Hire a professional!

 

Still reading? If you made it this far, I thank you for taking the time to read this. 🙂 If you still want to represent yourself, I wish you the best and, at a minimum, you’re a slightly more educated buyer. If you’d like to talk about hiring me, reach out any time. Cell: 678-520-5898.

 

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