10 Reasons You Need an Agent
As with most important things in life, you wouldn't try to handle a legal situation without an attorney, build your own house or take on the IRS solo to challenge a tax matter. Well, buying or selling a home is no different.
Here are 10 reasons you should never buy or sell a home without representation.
1. Knowledge is not power
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing when it comes to real estate. At the click of a mouse or tap on your phone, you can get an instant valuation of your property. But is that value realistic? On which properties is it based? What did those properties have that yours does or does not? What were the dates and details of those sales?
That valuation could be significantly more or less than what your property is actually worth. Just like using the internet to self-diagnose a medical issue is not the best idea, the same applies to real estate.
2. What do you know about the market?
To the above point, as a seller, do you know what other option buyers are likely to consider when they are looking at your home? Do you know who the typical buyer audience is, where they are coming from and how to find them?
Do you know what agents likely work with this group? What is the average number of days on market for homes in your area and what percentage of the asking price they are getting? Are there any particular terms of sale that are trending in your area such as sellers paying closing costs for buyers or other concessions?
As a buyer, what types of properties are most realistic for your price range and the kind of financing you will be obtaining?
A good agent can educate you about 'real estate reality' as far as what you can get for your money in your desired area and criteria that are important to you.
Lastly, whether a buyer or seller, do you know why properties in one particular location sell faster than another? Are there challenges, perceived or real that could affect values?
I can help prevent you from making an expensive mistake when it comes to buying (such as a home near a soon-to-be-constructed highway or busy railroad tracks - no wonder it was priced so cheap!). And alternatively, I can help sellers position their property in the best way when taking into account external factors around it that can affect value.
3. Realtors® are expert problem solvers
So, what happens when the inspection reveals termites, roof leaks, a house that needs plumbing repairs or when an inspector paints a picture of a fairly minor repair issue in a far worse light than it is? What happens when an appraisal comes in at less than contract sales price?
These are run-of-the-mill issues that agents face every day. They don't make our palms sweat and cause us to faint. Instead we stand tall in the face of the myriad challenges this business presents.
In this business, if you aren't solving problems, you aren't selling real estate.
If you are selling your home on your own and encounter these situations, can you prevent the buyer from running for the hills? Do you have a plethora of experts you can call upon, often at a moment's notice, who can help?
As a buyer, do you really want to be addressing repair items with a seller directly? Sellers are so often in 'repair denial', particularly when they are trying to sell their home on their own - there are never any issues as far as they are concerned.
4. Overcoming objections is what Realtors® excel at
You are selling your home on your own. Do you have a record of who has come through and when? If they had an agent, who it was and what the buyer thought of it? If they didn't buy your home, what did they buy instead and why?
That's what agents working with sellers manage. Are there any themes emerging? If there are concerns that are presenting a challenge for buyers, do you know how to address them?
Are there ways to combat these objections by providing additional information or consulting with needed designers, contractors, landscapers, the homeowners' association and so on?
An agent can effectively address objections such as 'didn't like layout' or 'needs too much work' and know how to position the property effectively, so buyers go from 'just looking' to locking an offer up.
5. Effective negotiation skills are key
As a seller, you received a low offer on the property. Do you make a counteroffer, outright reject it or not respond? As a buyer, you want to make an offer that asks the seller for everything. How do you formulate a strategy? Do you know how much you should offer or counteroffer? Does your response risk alienating the other side? Are you in a multiple offer situation? How do you facilitate, manage and negotiate effectively to keep all interested buyers in play?
The negotiation landscape can get complex, which is why a third party is always beneficial in acting as a buffer zone to separate emotion from facts and work to reach an objective outcome.
6. Preventive medicine equals more money in your pocket
The saying 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' certainly applies when it comes to real estate because surprise is never a good thing when it comes to buying or selling. An agent will walk you through the necessary steps before you start your property search or put your property on the market.
As a buyer, there are certain things you must do before starting your property search, such as getting prequalified (preferably preapproved) so you don't waste time looking at properties that aren't a match. As a seller, your agent will help you identify those items that should be addressed before putting your property on the market. Are there any repair items that need to be taken care of? Should the home be preinspected? What about staging or editing your furnishings or decor? Is there any information you need to pull together that will be pertinent to the sale of the home?
7. Marketing expertise is needed to sell your home
Image is everything when it comes to real estate and a poorly presented property will languish in any market. Do you have access to photographers, stagers and interior decorators? Although you might think marketing your property on your own is easy, there is a difference between playing photographer and hiring someone with an objective critical eye for marketing. Do you know which photos are going to best present the property? Can you write the copy that will best tell the story of your property? This will be the story that will communicate the features, benefits and advantages of your property over other, competing properties.
8. Internet exposure is unmatched
Can you broadcast your property across numerous websites and various networks to pique buyer and agent interest - locally, nationally and internationally? Are you able to reach hundreds, thousands with the click of a mouse? A Realtor® is skilled at making your property go viral in just seconds.
9. Agents have connections
Realtors® are connected to just about everyone and everything. The three degrees of separation rule applies here. Agents are constantly in the know - it's our job to be. We leverage our relationships with real estate related service providers, lenders - and most importantly, other agents - to help bring the sale together. Agents exchange and share advice and ideas that can help one another. By networking and information-sharing, we help bridge the gap between 'for sale' and 'sold'.
We also have access to properties that are not officially on the market and often know deals not advertised that builders might be offering in terms of discounts or specials that can help you save money.
Need a handyman, painter or plumber? We have the best contacts.
10. Trusted advice and an available point person are a seller's best friend
Who else can you go to with a question or concern almost any time of the day or night? Yes, as much as we don't like to admit it, there is no such thing as office hours for real estate. As your Realtor®, I will be your trusted advisor every step of the way and, unlike your attorney or accountant, you won't get charged for every phone call or e-mail. Who else can you unload your qualms, fears and worries upon regarding the buying and selling process? When your peanut gallery of friends, family and co-workers are giving you confusing advice, who can you trust for objective information to make the best possible decision?
Don't go into the buying and selling process blind. Let me be your guide so that you can celebrate this incredible milestone without worry, knowing that the heavy lifting and problem-solving was done for you.
Special thanks to Cara Ameer for her assistance with this article.
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