Regardless of the housing market climate, buying a home is an intricate process that takes a lot of time, energy, and attention to detail. There is a lot of paperwork and legalities involved, and many individuals with no real estate experience attempt to handle this task independently. While not impossible, as many have succeeded in doing so, navigating these waters can be quite challenging.
While you don't technically need an agent, you should leave this work to the professionals. Here's why:
Help with the Property Search:
Websites like Zillow and Realtor.com are taking over the world of real estate. These online marketplaces have made it no longer necessary for you to pick up the free Homes & Land Magazine from the magazine kiosk in your town.
However, based on some of the experience's homebuyers have had with these websites, you might be better off shooting for the magazine.
Places such as Zillow are notorious for their inaccuracy. Some instances include providing false information such as advertising that a listing will take backup offers when indeed they are not. It can also take weeks to update the status of a property from 'active' to 'pending.' By the time you're ready to see a property, it might already have closed.
How does an agent help in a situation like this? Well, Realtors® have access to the Multiple Listing Service, otherwise known as the MLS. With just about every available property on the MLS, agents get real-time updates on properties. So, you'll know precisely when a new property hits the market and sells. Agents can set up online portals to go in and view houses that fit your specific criteria, so you don't miss out on the property that's right for you.
Someone to Do Your Dirty Work:
The average homebuyer will visit ten homes before finally landing on "the one." Here is what's involved in getting out to see those ten homes:
- Finding the time to visit the property that accommodates the seller's schedule, the listing agent's plan, and your schedule
- Request and review seller disclosures. Different states require specific disclosures when listing properties. As a buyer, you'll have enough on your to plate to worry about whether the listing agent provides you with all of the required pertinent information.
- Depending on the property, listing agents might defer you to the town or state to answer questions regarding permits, property lines, tax information, or other pertinent property information.
- Providing resources on the neighborhood or area that the seller might not want to disclose to potential buyers could save you from a lot of hassle.
If there's a possibility of seeing up to ten properties, sometimes more, it's that much easier to have somebody taking care of the finite details for you.
The Negotiating Process:
Our country is in the middle of what many have referred to as a "housing crisis." What this means is that there is very little inventory available for buyers. So, with a massive pool of buyers in the market, competition is very cutthroat. Some houses are even selling for as much as $50,000 over asking price!
The state of the housing market shouldn't deter you from starting your home buying process by any means. With historically low-interest rates and ever-increasing rent prices, there is an excellent opportunity for buyers. And while the competition is stiff, working with an agent can guide you to great success.
Purchasing a home is more than just two parties agreeing on a number. There's a lot that goes into it, especially in our current market. Because agents are in the trenches on a day-to-day basis, they can see what's working for buyers and what's not. How are buyers getting their offers accepted and still paying a fair price for a property? There's a lot to consider from home inspection negotiations, contingencies, and more.
A buyer agent can also help you decipher complicated paperwork, often filled with complex jargon. For many reasons, partnering with a reliable agent can give you a competitive advantage over fellow buyers, no matter the market.
The Final Verdict
Your buyer agent will serve as your representative. From start to finish, this individual will ensure that you are fully prepared for the homebuying process, as well as making sure you’re fully qualified to help put you in the best position possible while searching. And perhaps the best part is, typically, it doesn’t cost you anything to work with a buyer agent. While you may have reservations about working with an agent, there's no need to fear. By working with the right agent, you know that a professional has your best interests.