A good agent helps sellers analyze the market and set a listing price, market the property, hold open houses, juggle offers, handle contracts and trust funds, and negotiate with the buyer’s agent. For homebuyers, an agent finds properties meeting their needs, answers questions about the process, helps draft a good opening offer, negotiates the best deal, and guides them through closing. That’s a lot of service for a pretty reasonable fee.
Let’s look at more advantages of hiring a real estate agent when you’re buying or selling property.
An Advocate in the Process
Buyers and sellers are busy with big life changes; they don’t have time to effectively manage all the details of a complex financial transaction. A real estate agent represents you and your interests throughout the entire process, acting as a liaison between you and the other party. They handle the phone calls, appointments, documents, counteroffers, contingencies, and problems for you.
There’s inherent conflict in a sales transaction: The seller wants the highest price while the buyer wants the most property for the least amount of money. You don’t have to deal with that conflict first hand; that’s what the agent is for. They speak for you in tough situations, deliver bad news, and diplomatically communicate your concerns and objections.
An agent is part consultant, part investigator. She will procure the information you need about the real estate market, neighborhood dynamics, competitors, and market values to get the best deal. An agent will provide information on factors such as:
- List-to-sold prices ratios
- Market supply and demand
- Average sales prices
- Days on the market
- Average cost per square foot for similar properties
Real estate agents know the market, the process, the contracts, and the other real estate professionals and vendors in your community.
Contract and Price Advisor
You ultimately decide the listing price or offer price, but your agent will get you the information to make an informed choice. Agents are trained to complete comparative market analyses (CMAs), which compare the features of similar properties in the area to arrive at a fair offer or asking price.
A sales contract is a legal instrument with real legal consequences. You can lose a lot of money if things go wrong and you don’t have the necessary provisions in place to protect yourself. While real estate agents cannot practice law or offer legal advice, they’re familiar with sales contracts, addenda, contingencies, mortgages, and relevant state law. There’re a lot of deadlines for completion of certain duties and conditions in a contract. It’s the agent’s job to stay on top of what is due when.
Your Own Negotiator
The back and forth between buyer and seller can get complicated with offers, counteroffers, and contingencies ricocheting between the parties. Agents advocate for what’s best for their clients and present their best case to the other party.
Most people aren’t skilled negotiators. There are various strategies employed when negotiating deals for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Think you can deftly handle delicate negotiations on your own? Would you be willing to risk it during the biggest financial transaction of your life?
Handling Money and Documents
A sales transaction involves a variety of forms, disclosures, deposits, and reports; real estate agents know all about them. To get a real estate license, agents complete between 60 to 100 hours of training in trust accounts, contract law, property valuation, residential financing, closings, and other real estate topics. Standard sales contracts contain lots of requirements for the prompt, proper delivery of deposits, reports, and disclosures. The agents coordinate all of that to ensure a smooth closing.
An Experienced Guide
If you’re in legal trouble, you hire a lawyer. If you’re climbing a mountain, you follow a guide who’s been there before. If you’re a real estate rookie, there will be loads of unfamiliar terms and concepts to contend with. An agent will guide you through each step. They’ve successfully closed many transactions and know what to do and what not to do.
Legally Required Duties
The relationship between agents and clients is not a casual arrangement. State real estate license law specifies agents’ responsibilities when they represent buyers or sellers, called “fiduciary duties.”
The duties of an agent to you, a client in an agency relationship, are:
You don’t get the benefits of half of those duties (loyalty, obedience, and confidentiality) if you’re just a customer.
Wow! After reading all that, a better question is: Why wouldn’t you hire a real estate agent?
As you can see, real estate is a complex, high stakes profession. Real estate agents are major players in deals transferring large amounts of money and property. If that sounds attractive to you, click over to 360training.com for online real estate training.