Real estate agents have been around for centuries, and before modern technology was invented, they used to write down their clients' information and information about homes for sale and gather in person to exchange information and match home buyers with sellers. Today, modern technology—especially the internet—allows real estate listings to be shared freely, and this leaves many people wondering if they really need a real estate agent to help them purchase a home at all. The truth is that, when buying a home, there are benefits to both recruiting a real estate agent to help you find the right home at a great deal and benefits to performing the home search and sealing the deal alone. Read on to learn about the advantages of each option and how to decide which is right for you.
Real Estate Agents: What They Have to Offer Home Buyers
Even with today's technology, real estate agents are still used by many buyers due to several factors. First, many home buyers simply find using an agent to be much more convenient than shopping for a home alone. If you are busy and are not fond of browsing home listings online yourself, then you can give an agent a list of all of your home "must-haves" and the budget you have in mind. Your agent will then browse home listings for you, likely on a multiple listing service, and then choose the ones that meet your needs to show you in person.
In addition, your agent may be able to haggle with the seller to get you a deal that is lower than the home "listing price." The success of haggling varies greatly, and many sellers today make their listing prices higher than they would otherwise to prepare to give the agent a price break.
For a home buyer, the services of an agent are virtually "free," since they don't charge buyers for their help finding a great home at a great price; they work strictly for a commission paid by the seller of the home.
Also, since there are so many real estate agents today, many people know one who they would like to support and are happy to help them earn a commission while they purchase a home they need.
Buying Your Home Without an Agent: Its Unique Advantages
While some people find working with a real estate agent easier than browsing home listings online and making the deals themselves, others love browsing online for their dream homes and find the entire buying process exciting. This is one of the numerous advantages of buying a home without the help of an agent.
If you are like many people, you may have an idea what you would like in your home, but just not be able to completely express those ideas in words to an agent to help them understand the home style you are looking for, or you just may not be sure what you want in your home until you see it. When browsing house listings on your own online, you don't have to know what you want in a home until you see the one that you fall in love with.
Working without an agent can help also help you stretch your home-buying budget. There are also many online home listings that are FSBO, or For Sale By Owner, that are already lower in price due to the seller not having to pay commission to a seller's agent. A buyer's agent may or may not elect to even show these homes to you, because when there is no agent selling the home, the owner of the home does not have to pay your realtor a commission. If the home seller does not agree to pay this commission, then you may never get to see the home that could have been the perfect one for you.
In addition, due to the fact that a home seller knows that they are paying both the agent helping them sell the home and the buyer's agent, they often add this expense onto the home price itself; when you bid on a home by yourself, you can ask for a price reduction based on the cash the seller is saving by not having to pay your real estate agent.
Should You Use a Buyer's Real Estate Agent?
Before you recruit the help of a real estate agent, browse the online home listings in the area you have decided to move to and see what you can find on your own. You may be surprised that you find a great FSBO home at a great price that an agent may have never shown you. However, if after browsing, you decide you need some guidance through the home-buying process, you can then recruit the help of a buyer's agent. That time spent browsing alone will not go to waste, because after getting an idea of what homes are for sale in the area, this information can help you decide if you need to give your agent some more "wiggle room" in your budget and help you learn what you really want in your dream home.