The chances of a better offer, a faster sale, and experience of the whole real estate process are a few of the most important answers to the question: Why hire a real estate agent? But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A qualified agent serves as an advisor in your corner, preparing you for every move in a competitive and often unpredictable real estate market. Here are our top reasons why you should consider hiring a real estate agent when you’re selling or buying a home.
As a Realtor®, we’re required to have the best interests of our clients in mind and work as their advocate. So every time we strike a deal we’re looking out for the best interests of our client; that’s our fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interest.
- Hilda Dovenbarger Real Estate AgentCloseHilda Dovenbarger Real Estate Agent at HD Realty Group
- Years of Experience 4
- Transactions 94
- Average Price Point $184k
- Single Family Homes 91
Why hire a real estate agent if you’re selling
1. Likely to get you more money for your property
Some sellers believe they can get more money for their property by cutting out the standard agent commission and selling their homes For Sale By Owner (FSBO). However, if the buyer has an agent, the seller will still likely need to pay the buyer’s agent’s commission
“The common misconception is that we get to pocket all that money,” says Kim Erwin, a top-selling agent in Corpus Christi, Texas, explaining that the commission typically paid by a seller is usually split roughly evenly with the buyer’s agent.
FSBO sellers are walking away from home sales with less, according to a 2021 report by the National Association of Realtors® that states the median price for FSBO-sold homes was $260,000 while agent-involved home sales averaged $318,000. When you do the math, homes sold by agents statistically bring in an average of $39,000 more even after accounting for the commission.
2. Likely to generate a speedier sale
Agents have experience with proven strategies that help sell properties quickly. An expert agent who knows your area will be well-acquainted with the current housing market, knowing what is motivating buyers in your area, and come prepared with a comparative market analysis from similar houses that have recently sold nearby. Some ways agents can help your home sell faster include:
- Setting the right listing price
- Knowledge of area trends
- Suggesting a pre-listing inspection
- Helping prioritize updates, and repairs
- Effective marketing
3. Helps juggle many moving parts at once
The lifecycle of a real estate transaction comes with many moving parts, timelines, and professionals involved. Think of your agent as a project manager and liaison for each stage of the sale.
To tick all the boxes, each step in a real estate transaction requires expertise, focus, and constant communication — not to mention abundant paperwork — to move the home sale forward. Here are aspects that real estate agents are involved with during the lifecycle of the sale:
- Set an asking price based on market data
- Advertise the home
- Help prepare a house for showings
- Show the home to buyers
- Hande buyer offers
- Earnest deposits go into escrow account
- Prepare contracts
- Oversee attorney review
- Negotiating offers
- Review seller disclosures
- Review loan paperwork
- Arrange title searches and communicate with escrow agents
- Home inspections
- Buyer contingencies
- Closing documents
With all the tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities, a home sale goes beyond what a layperson without the proper expertise and training can manage. If you’re thinking of selling your home, find a top agent to get started.
4. Can identify home improvements to help the sale
Real estate agents advise sellers on priority home improvement projects that will deliver the best return on their investment. For example, investing in lawn care will deliver a return of 352%. Additional improvements that require a small investment that boost curb appeal –– like adding mulch, power washing the exterior, or planting flower beds — might also be suggested.
To tackle each project, you’ll need reliable professionals. Look no further than your agent for a network of trusted professional contacts such as contractors and other home improvement specialists.
5. Expert at setting the right price
For an expedient sale, it’s essential to avoid the temptation of overpricing your home and pricing it appropriately for the market. “It’s very very important for the seller to have the right comp analysis on the property [when pricing the home] because if not, the property’s going to fall behind on the market,” cautions Hilda Dovenbarger, a top agent who sells homes 29% quicker than the average El Paso, Texas agent.
“The longer it stays on the market causes people to start bringing in lower offers or start wondering why this property is falling behind.”
Want a ballpark figure of what your home is worth? Our Home Value Estimator will provide an estimate of your home’s value by analyzing market trends data, your home’s last sale price, and recent sales records, though working with an agent is still recommended for the most accurate price possible.
6. Designs a winning marketing strategy
Expert agents are proactive marketers with an arsenal of marketing and sales techniques in their toolbox in which to market properties. Agents advertise on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database, social media, and other advertising venues, but they also maintain a network of buyers and buyers’ agents. The following are important skills and recommendations agents use to market homes:
Optimized listings: Agents know how to write real estate listing descriptions and optimize keywords and use details that attract buyer agents and buyers.
Cleaning and staging tips: Agents help sellers make their homes look more inviting for online and in-person showings with the following tips:
- Deep cleaning
- Removing personal items
- Recommending paint colors
- Selecting and arranging the right furniture pieces to make a home stand out
Beautiful staging allows the buyer to envision your property as their own and as a blank slate to envision their own personal touches and belongings. Not up for deep cleaning and decluttering? An agent can recommend a cleaning service to make your home sparkle or an organizer to keep things neat.
7. Manages (and explains) all those documents
There are roughly 25 documents in every real estate transaction. Sometimes the industry jargon in contracts and real estate documents can feel like a foreign language. There are financing industry terms, attorney legalese, title company lingo, and real estate vocabulary–– all that can be mind-boggling to sellers as well as buyers.
Some examples include:
- Contingency period
- Hard money loan
- Settlement fees
- Debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
- Seller concession
- Conventional mortgage loans
Real estate agents will take the time to explain the purpose of each document, answer questions you don’t understand, and clarify the terms you’re agreeing to and signing.
Once parties sign documents and contracts, your real estate agent will organize them for easy future access.
8. Acts as a skilled negotiator
A top real estate agent knows negotiation tactics to help you get the maximum price for your property. But adept negotiation takes knowledge of the current market, research, and expert skill.
“We know the area; we have studied their property, know all the details of the property that makes it go above and beyond for that offer,” explains Dovenbarger. “We can say, hey, this beautiful property has a beautiful yard, beautiful swimming pool, all that. It’s important to say to a buyer it would be to your advantage to pay for the survey and to pay for the closing costs.”
A few other expenses that can be negotiated down include home warranty premiums, repair costs, and cosmetic updates to the home, or the buyer can pay their own closing costs.
9. Serves as an advocate from listing to closing
An agent works as an advocate on your behalf to protect your interests above the interests of the buyer.
“As a Realtor®, we’re required to have the best interests of our clients in mind and work as their advocate, ” says Dovenbarger. “So every time we strike a deal we’re looking out for the best interests of our client; that’s our fiduciary responsibility to look out for your best interest.”
Why hire a real estate agent if you’re buying
1. Has access to off-market listings
If you prefer a non-traditional route to buying a home, you can purchase a house off-market rather than buying a home on the open market. Well-connected agents have a list of sellers for off-market sales, also known as office exclusives for the following reasons:
- They value a discrete sale for personal reasons such as going through a divorce
- Their property needs a lot of repairs
- You don’t want to disturb tenants renting their property
- They wish to maintain confidentiality because they’re a high-profile individual
- Their home is about to go into pre-foreclosure or foreclosure and need to sell it fast
If you want to find out if off-market listings are right for you, ask a top agent.
2. Spots red flags
Unless you’re a home improvement professional or an experienced agent, you might miss red flags when viewing a home on your own. Some expensive home repair issues your agent can spot include structural issues, furnace problems, roofing issues, plumbing leaks, mold, and insect infestations. While these issues would likely come up during a home inspection, spotting them early can save a lot of time if these are dealbreakers for you.
But red flags can go beyond inspection issues, such as when a property is priced above market value, says Dovenbarger. “Those are the kind of red flags we see on properties; you want to have an expert help you research and do the right due diligence for that property.”
3. Helps craft a competitive offer
In the current market, the demand for houses exceeds the supply in many areas, so it’s not unusual for the house that hits every item on your wishlist to have a lot of bids. HomeLight’s Agent Insights Report for Summer/Fall 2021 calls the market a “gold rush” for sellers, with some homes selling up to $100,000 over the asking price. So how do you compete?
“As a Realtor®, it’s important that we guide our clients to make the correct and right offer,” says Dovenbarger. “Maybe you might want to do a waiver for the addendum because if that’s the perfect house for [you] and we do the right to termination addendum, that guarantees the seller the money over and gives the buyer a higher hand and a more enticing offer.”
4. Helps you negotiate in a hot market
In a slow market with a large inventory, a seller will consider covering certain costs to seal the deal. Similarly, agents can advise buyers in a hot market with low inventory on how to negotiate to improve the chances of winning a property by paying:
- Title insurance
- The seller’s taxes
- Survey costs
- A higher earnest money deposit
- Lowering option periods
One way Dovenbarger helps buyers negotiate is by offering a higher earnest money deposit or by shortening the option period. “If the property is hitting everything on a buyers’ wish list, they could offer to lower the option period from 10 days to three days.
“We had this property that was only two years old and had its warranties; it was in perfect condition so we lowered the option period to three days,” says Dovenbarger. “The buyer was guaranteeing the seller the buy, but we still had a little leeway to differentiate ourselves from other contracts that were asking for more time, more time to say, ‘I’m going to walk away.’”
Other ways Dovenbarger helps buyers negotiate with sellers is by offering $6,000 to $10,000 more, for example, or by offering to pay the sellers’ closing costs.
5. Navigates contingencies
A contingency in a sales agreement is a clause stating a certain condition must be met for the sale to proceed. Real estate agents put contingencies in place for various reasons. For example, a home inspection contingency will enable a buyer to pull out of the sale to avoid purchasing a home that’s a money pit.
On the other end of the spectrum, an escalation clause is a contingency that enables the buyer to increase the offer to a specific dollar amount above the highest bid that includes a cap. This helps the buyer win that property. However, a qualified agent will ensure the addendum for an escalation clause asks for proof of documentation of the highest bid.
“We help [buyers] make sure we have the correct addendums in place so they can move toward the closing in the right direction without having all those hiccups and without going through all those headaches,” Dovenbarger says. “At the end of the day, if we’re not using the right addendums, the right paperwork for that contingency, the buyer can lose that property and they can also lose money.”
6. Creates solutions for unpleasant surprises
Title issues, inspection problems, a low appraisal: these are common surprises a buyer never wants to hear. The agent is the first one to find out about an unexpected surprise or when something went wrong,” says Dovenbarger. “By the time we deliver that information to the buyer, we have the solution; we find out what exactly is wrong and what it’s going to take to get it resolved.
“Things are time-sensitive so you need that expert to think outside the box and say, this is the paperwork we need, these are the phone calls we need to make, and we are closing on time.”
Final thoughts on why you should hire a real estate agent
It’s important to hire the correct agent who knows the geographical area and how to market the property for the area it’s in, but you also want to make sure the Realtor® is experienced, says Dovenbarger.
“For me, the Realtor® and the [client] need to have the right connection; remember, we’re going to be working together for quite some time, so we have to make sure that we’re both on the same page and are the perfect match, Dovenbarger continues. “At the end of the day, the [client] and the agent are working as a team.”
Header Image Source: (Kzenon / Shutterstock)