- They’ll Get in Touch For You
Buying or selling a home takes tremendous coordination. Real estate agents have the experience you don’t, the ability to devote work hours to your case, and business contacts with other agents.
Without an agent, you need to contact other buyers or sellers, make appointments for home viewings, ask or answer questions, and negotiate prices. Not only is this a lot of work, it’s a lot of work that needs to happen in a timely manner. If you’re trying to buy a house, and you move too slowly, any houses you’re interested in might get sold to someone else before you even make it to the table. If you’re trying to sell your house, and you’re too slow to respond to offers, potential buyers might give up on your house and move on to other possibilities.
- They’ll Help Negotiate
Some first-time homebuyers assume that going without an agent will simplify negotiations. After all, if you have an honest, direct conversation about your needs with the buyer or seller, and they communicate theirs back, surely a fair middle ground will present itself, right?
Unfortunately, this presupposes a lot. Not everybody you work with will be so happy to lay their cards out on the table, or so eager to meet your needs. A good negotiator can walk the line between a price that is too high for the buyer, and a price that is low enough to drive the seller away. This takes practice, and if you don’t have a lot of experience negotiating, you probably don’t want your first try to be on something as high-stakes as a home sales. And in cases where the buyer and seller don’t see eye to eye, the real estate agent can play the bad guy for you, preventing bad blood between the buyer and seller than could ultimately ruin a sale.
- They Ensure Honesty
Some people worry that real estate agents are dishonest. After all, they have their own agenda when it comes to making a sale. But real estate agents have lots of reasons to be honest with you and anyone else they work with. Firstly, they rely on referrals and repeat clients, so your agent will be invested in making you happy. Secondly, because they’re licensed to practice real estate, there are more sanctions against their dishonesty than against dishonest private sellers. Finally, if an agent does lie to you, you can get recourse more easily than you can with a private seller.
If you do decide to work privately, you should do so with a lawyer on retainer. However, that will often cost more than hiring a real estate agent.