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The chances of a better offer, a faster sale, and a positive overall experience of the real estate process are just a few answers to the question: Why hire a real estate agent? But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A qualified agent acts as your trusted advisor, 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.
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 evenly with the buyer’s agent.
FSBO sellers are walking away from home sales with less, according to a 2023 report by the National Association of Realtors®. Only 7% of sellers opted to go this route, and the median price of a FSBO-sold home amounted to $310,000, far lower than the median of agent-sold homes at $405,000.
When you do the math, homes sold by agents statistically bring in an average of $95,000 more, even after accounting for the commission.
2. Could 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, understand what motivates buyers in your area, and come prepared with a comparative market analysis of similar houses that have recently sold nearby.
If you need to sell your house in days rather than weeks, HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform allows you to close in as little as 10 days. After you answer a few basic questions about your property, you’ll receive an all-cash offer within 24 hours from the largest network of cash home buyers in the U.S. You can skip the repairs, prep work, and showings, and won’t pay any program fees or closing costs. With Simple Sale, you’ll even have the option to choose a move-out date that fits your schedule.
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.
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 6
- Transactions 127
- Average Price Point $200k
- Single Family Homes 124
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 investment (ROI).
According to a HomeLight Top Agent Insights report, buyers are willing to pay 7% more, on average, for homes with exceptional curb appeal. Your agent might suggest improvements that won’t break the bank like adding mulch to flower beds, powering washing your home’s exterior, or painting the front door a vibrant color.
To tackle more labor-intensive projects such as replacing garage doors (102.7% ROI) or a minor kitchen remodel (85.7% ROI), you’ll probably need professional help. Look no further than your agent for a network of trusted professional contacts such as contractors, handypersons, and other home improvement specialists.
5. Expert at setting the right price
For a fast sale, it’s essential to price your home appropriately for the market. “It’s very important for the seller to have the right comparative market 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 31% quicker than the average El Paso, Texas agent.
“More time spent on the market causes people to start bringing in lower offers or start wondering why this property is falling behind,” she says.
Want a ballpark figure of what your home is worth? Our Home Value Estimator will give you an idea of your home’s value by analyzing market data, your home’s last sale price, and recent sales records. It’ll also ask you some questions about upgrades you’ve made to get a more complete picture of your home’s worth. This tool is designed to be a starting point for pricing your home, and we highly recommend working with an agent to pinpoint a competitive listing price.
6. Designs a winning marketing strategy
Experienced agents have a variety of marketing and sales strategies to effectively promote properties. Agents advertise on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database, social media, and other advertising platforms, 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 captivating real estate listing descriptions that optimize keywords and incorporate details to appeal to both buyer agents and potential buyers.
Cleaning and staging: Agents help sellers make their homes look more inviting in online listings and in-person showings using the following techniques:
- Deep cleaning
- Recommending paint colors
- Selecting and arranging the right furniture pieces to make a home stand out (aka home staging)
Strategic staging encourages buyers to envision your property as their own, providing a blank canvas for them to imagine their personal touches and belongings. HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report revealed that professionally staged homes can sell for up to 13% more than unstaged homes. While 67% of agents said staging helps sell homes, 31% labeled it “essential for a sale.”
Not up for deep cleaning and decluttering? An agent can recommend a professional 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 — and all of it can be mind-boggling for buyers and sellers.
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 any questions you have, and clarify the terms you’re agreeing to and signing.
Once all parties have signed the 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 is well-versed in negotiation tactics that will help you get the best price for your property. Effective negotiation requires knowledge of the current market, research, and expert skill.
Dovenbarger says agents understand the difference between so-so properties and exceptional properties, the latter of which may require the buyer to sweeten the deal. “We can say, hey, this property has a beautiful yard, a beautiful swimming pool, all that. It’s important to let the buyer know that it’s in their best interest to pay for the survey and to pay for the closing costs,” notes Dovenbarger.
A few other expenses that can be negotiated down include home warranty premiums, repair costs, and cosmetic updates to the home. The buyer can also opt to pay their own closing costs.
9. Serves as an advocate from listing to closing
“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:
- The seller values a discrete sale for personal reasons such as going through a divorce
- The property needs a lot of repairs
- The seller doesn’t want to disturb tenants renting their property
- The seller wishes to maintain confidentiality because they’re a high-profile individual
- The home is about to go into pre-foreclosure or foreclosure and the owner needs 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 real estate market, the demand for houses exceeds the supply in many areas, so it’s not uncommon for a house that checks off every item on your wishlist to attract multiple offers.
According to HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights End of Year 2023 Report, more than 50% of agents said we were in a seller’s market, while 28% described it as balanced. Only 13% viewed it as a buyer’s market, while 9% classified their market as in transition or falling under “other” categories.
So, how do you compete as a potential buyer?
“As a Realtor®, it’s important that we guide our clients to make the correct and right offer,” says Dovenbarger. If you’ve found your dream house, your agent might suggest waiving certain contingencies to persuade the seller to accept your offer over someone else’s.
4. Helps you negotiate in a hot market
In a slow market with a healthy amount of inventory, a seller may consider covering certain costs to seal the deal. Similarly, agents may advise buyers in a hot market with low inventory 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
Dovenbarger often helps buyers negotiate 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,” she explains.
“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.”
Other ways Dovenbarger helps buyers negotiate with sellers is by offering $6,000 to $10,000 over asking, or by offering to pay the seller’s 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 make sure we have the correct addendums in place so buyers can move toward the closing in the right direction, without having all those hiccups and 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 come across. “The agent is the first one to find out about unexpected surprises, or when something goes 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
Dovenbarger emphasizes the importance of choosing an agent who is familiar with the local area and markets properties accordingly.
“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 says. “At the end of the day, the client and the agent are working as a team.”
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