Hiring A Real Estate Agent: Is The Expert Worth It?
It may have been a tough start for millennials in the housing market, but the rising prices and depleted housing inventories are slowly starting to level off, giving young and first-time homebuyers and home sellers a chance to catch their breath and decide if this is the right time to jump into the market.
If you’re already a homeowner, you know what an exciting milestone that is. However, there eventually comes a time to consider selling. It could work for myriad reasons, from a change of location to downsizing to a change in employment. Whatever the reason, there’s a significant decision to make when you’re going to sell your home. When hiring a real estate agent, you’ll find yourself asking “is the expert worth it”?
First, let’s take a look at some reasons to consider hiring a real estate agent.
You Don’t Have To Sweat the Small Stuff
The most apparent benefit to hiring a real estate agent is that it means you can hand off so many responsibilities to someone else. In theory, that person has a good understanding of the local real estate market, rules and regulations, and market conditions. They’ll be able to cut through the red tape and handle all the documentation and fees you need to handle to get your home on the market. All of the time and effort you’d have to put into learning about the real estate industry can now go towards other important things as you prepare to list the home.
They Have Connections
The chances that your home is in perfect condition to be listed right away are pretty slim. Chances are you’re going to discover some issues inside or around the property, whether they be big deals like mold damage and foundation cracks or smaller concerns like bad curb appeal. The point is, you’re likely going to need to reach out to some expert to take care of the problem, be they inspectors, landscapers, attorneys, or home stagers. A good real estate agent who is established in the area will already have those connections. Furthermore, they’ll have a working relationship and may even be able to get you a discounted rate.
You Get Your Own Negotiator
While some people enjoy the art of negotiating, many others would rather do anything else. That’s especially true if you’re not entirely confident about the situation you’re negotiating in, which is likely to be the case when it comes to real estate. A real estate agent will be able to maneuver that process much easier and with a lot of knowledge. They’ll be able to avoid pitfalls, and potentially command better offers because of their experience handling the buying process. Having an agent also sends a signal to potential buyers not to try and lowball you or trick you because they assume you might be in over your head.
With all of that said, what are some reasons you might not want to hire a real estate agent?
You’ll Have to Pay Commissions
Perhaps the most obvious downside to hiring an agent is that they’re going to get a commission for selling your house. And the better the agent, the higher that commission fee might be. Sellers should expect to pay as much as six percent of the sale price to the agent, which is going to cut into whatever profit you make after paying off existing loans and other fees. Of course, you could hire a discount broker instead, but then you’re also not going to get all of the services other agents would offer.
You’re Not Their Only Client
While a real estate agent will tell you that they work for you, they don’t exclusively work for you. Most likely, they’re concurrently selling multiple homes and working with various buyers as well. That doesn’t mean your agent won’t do an excellent job for you, but it does mean that their attention can often be divided. That could mean you’ll be waiting for returned calls, watch some opportunities pass by, and potentially even miss out on a deal due to conflicts of interest.
The Process Can Take a Long Time
There are few guarantees when it comes to listing your home with a real estate agent. By listing on the open market, you’re going to be responsible for certain fees, you’ll likely have to sink money into repairs or upgrades to give your home better curb appeal, and you’re going to have to deal with buyers who want the price to go lower than you’d prefer. Not to mention that the real estate market can change on a whim and the best efforts of the most excellent real estate agents might not lead to a sale. Sellers can avoid all of these potential pitfalls by hiring a discount service or selling their home to an investor for cash instead. That’s a much easier and much quicker process than listing through an agent, and it allows you to start fresh sooner than later.
You Might Hire a Bad Agent
The truth is, you never know whether or not the relationship between you and your agent is going to work. They might have a great reputation but could be a bad fit for you personally. An agent might sell you on the idea of them but then pass off the responsibilities of listing your property to an associate who isn’t as good. And while they might be a great agent when it comes to selling a specific kind of home, that might not be the case for yours. If you’re going to hire an agent, it’s important that you do as much research as you can beforehand. Don’t just rely on the agent to tell you about them, make sure you seek our reviews and testimonials. Word of mouth is a huge factor when it comes to successful real estate agents.
Call To Action
When deciding if you should hire a real estate agent or not, take a look at your current situation and weigh the pros and cons. Write down what is most important to you like getting your asking price, ease of sale or saving money. Write down the cons of hiring an agent and have a discussion with your family about what would be the best option for you and your family. If you do decide to list with a realtor, make sure you interview multiple realtors and ask them for references.
- My personal experience as a real estate business owner