Do We Need Real Estate Agents?

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Written By Owner

An experienced marketing consultant with a decade of hands-on experience in real estate.

Swiping right on your dream home has become easier than ever before, with a world of listings, virtual tours, and comprehensive guides just a click away. This digitization in real estate begs the question: Do we really need agents anymore? 

Well, the answer is still a BIG YES! While the digital age has streamlined many aspects of the real estate process, reducing some of the traditional legwork for agents, their role has not diminished but rather evolved.  

They are still key to successful deals, and no online platform can replicate the insights and expertise they offer.  

Believe it or not, no one understands the nuances of local markets better than a realtor. No algo can match their keen eye on listings and the finesse with which they negotiate and navigate the legalities!  

And, while the DIY (Do It Yourself) idea might seem attractive. You need agents at every point of your homebuying journey!  


1. Why Buyers Need Real Estate Agents?

Why do we need real estate agents as buyers?

1.1 To find their dream home from thousands of listings

56% of buyers find property search the most difficult part of the buying process. And their challenge is justified! Getting a home that ticks all the boxes for you is like finding a needle in the haystack.

Searching for hours and hours for that one property is boring and can be overwhelming or rather painstaking. This is exactly why you need a realtor. They help you sort through thousands of listings to ultimately find your dream home.

How do they do that?

Finding your dream home

Through thorough discussions and consultation! They help you finalize the key aspects of your property purchase.

  • Preferred location 
  • Property type 
  • Property Size
  • Lifestyle needs, and
  • Budget limitations, if any 

Based on the information, the realtor tailors search the market for properties that precisely match your criteria, effectively streamlining the property hunt. Relators even have exclusive access to exclusive MLS platforms from which they can source a property for you.

This dedicated effort saves buyers valuable time and guarantees that they are presented with choices that truly match their vision.

Note: The process is iterative, and the realtor adapts their approach based on your feedback and evolving needs as you learn more about the market and your own preferences. 


1.2 To Provide them With Latest and Accurate Information

Buyer’s agents are the keepers of essential market knowledge and local insights. According to NAR, around 90% of recent buyers believe their agents to be useful information sources.

Buyer’s agents have a deep understanding of the local market that can save you from overpaying the seller. They are the encyclopedia of current local trends, pricing, and inventory and help you close the deal at the best possible price! 
 

The knowledge goes beyond simply knowing the average price per square foot in a given area.

It’s a deeper understanding that can give buyers a significant advantage; these are: 

1.2.1 Knowledge of the neighborhood Micro-Market :

A good buyer’s agent isn’t just familiar with the city or broader area and the specific micro-markets within it. They understand the unique characteristics of each neighborhood, including: 

  • School districts and amenities 
  • Crime rates and safety 
  • Development plans and infrastructure 
  • Community vibe and culture 
  • Inventory trends 

The buyer’s agent knows exactly how many houses are on the market at a given time. They can help you buy the right kind of properties and also help you with info like:

  • Days on the market: If a property has been on the market for weeks or months, there’s a good chance you can get it at a price lower than the asking price. This metric also indicates a property’s condition or the nature of the seller.
  • Listing price vs. selling price trends: With this information, buyers can determine realistic budgets and offers for purchasing the house. This even helps them understand the negotiation buffer for the property.

1.2.2 Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) Expertise:

Buyer’s agents can analyze comparable properties that have recently sold in similar neighborhoods. This helps buyers:

  • Identify potential overpricing 
  • Advise buyers on what price is fair and competitive in the current market. 

1.2.3 Market Forecasting:

Buyer’s agents have access to previous trends that can help buyers explore potential buying opportunities as per rising prices or seasonality.

📖 Also Read: Can a real estate agent represent themselves as a buyer?

1.3 To Coordinate Showings

Photos, videos, and descriptions can only tell you so much about a property. You will want to give a visit to experience the space beyond photos and get a sense of the home’s true scale.

Showing properties is a crucial task that agents manage for several reasons:

  • Logistical Alignment: Coordinating the schedules of all stakeholders—agents, sellers, and buyers—is challenging. Everyone has their commitments, making it difficult to find times that work for everyone.
  • Efficient Planning: As a buyer, you might not have the luxury of spending multiple days viewing houses. Your agent helps you meticulously plan your day to maximize the number of properties you can see. This efficiency is vital in making the most of your available time.
  • Access Requirements: Some properties have specific access requirements, such as gated communities, pets on the premises, or current tenants. Your agent assists in arranging access, ensuring visits go smoothly without any hitches.

That said, having an agent at your disposal also helps you with:

  • Identifying newly listed properties that match your preference is too quickly. This means they can get you in to see homes as soon as they’re available, giving you a competitive edge.
  • Agents often leverage their professional networks to facilitate showings, sometimes gaining access to properties before they’re listed publicly or arranging private viewings that wouldn’t be possible without their connections.

1.4 To help them with Thorough Property Evaluation and Examination

When buyers come across properties they’re interested in, the buyer’s agent has the responsibility to ensure that the investment they are making is right and that the property they are purchasing is a careful investigator, examining properties beyond their surface appearance.

They conduct detailed physical inspections, review relevant documentation, evaluate environmental factors, conduct a comparative market analysis, and consult with experts if needed.

This thorough investigation guarantees that buyers have all the necessary details to make informed decisions, protecting them from future surprises. 

Here’s how an agent can help 

1.4.1 Recommend Qualified Inspectors:

Good Buyer’s agents often have established relationships with qualified and reputable home inspectors in their area. They can use this network to refer professionals who can help you with detailed property reports. 

If you have specific inspection points in mind, they can recommend someone who can tailor their inspection to address those specific areas of interest, ensuring a more thorough evaluation. 

1.4.2. Scheduling and Coordinating Inspections:

With a buyer agent in the equation, you do not have to worry about the logistics of scheduling the inspection. They ensure it happens conveniently for both the seller and the inspector. They can also coordinate access to the property with the seller or listing agent. 

Communication and Advocacy: The buyer’s agent can act as a point of contact between the buyer, inspector, and seller. They can communicate any questions or concerns the buyer has to the inspector and ensure clear communication throughout the process. 

1.4.3. Understanding the Report and Negotiating on the Asking Price based on it

Needless to say, the inspector’s report can be quite technical and overwhelming for some buyers. Your agent can help you understand the report’s findings by explaining the identified issues, their severity, and potential implications. 

Based on this inspection report, the buyer’s agent can also negotiate with the seller to address identified issues. Depending on the severity of the problems, this could involve requesting repairs, credits towards closing costs, or even a lower purchase price. 

1.3.4. Additional Support

Knowledge of Local Regulations: Buyer’s agents know local building codes and regulations that may impact the property. They can advise the buyer on any additional inspections or permits that might be required. 

Guidance and Advocacy: Throughout the inspection process, the buyer’s agent offers guidance and support to the buyer. They can answer questions, address concerns, and ensure the buyer feels confident and informed throughout the process. 


1.5 To help them with Negotiation

  • Buyers prevent you from overpaying for your property! Based on this research, they have the pulse of the local market and can negotiate a fair price with the seller.  
  • They know how to present offers that appeal to sellers and are skilled at countering sellers’ offers. They will also help you draft an offer that is strong, competitive, and protects your interests. This includes contingencies for inspections, appraisals, and financing. 
  • In a competitive market, you may be up against multiple offers for the same property. A buyer’s agent can help you develop a winning strategy, such as offering a higher purchase price or waiving certain contingencies based on their read of the seller.  
  • These agents can help you structure the deal in a way that is favorable to you. This may include things like negotiating for closing cost credits or repairs to be made by the seller. 

1.6 managing the Paperwork

Agents expertly handle the complex network of paperwork and organize inspections, appraisals, and other crucial steps, skillfully addressing any potential obstacles that might arise. This careful coordination lessens the chance of complications and guarantees that the buying process unfolds smoothly and delightfully. 

1.6.1 Paperwork that they manage

  • Purchase Agreement
  • Proof of Earnest Money
  • Proof of homeowner’s insurance
  • Closing Disclosure
  • Loan application
  • Copy of purchase contract
  • Certificate of occupancy, in the case of a new-construction home
  • Home title (often held by a title company until your mortgage is paid off)
  • Deed of trust or mortgage
  • Note
  • Deed
  • Title insurance policy
  • Affidavit of title
  • Initial escrow statement
  • Transfer tax declaration

1.6.2 Additional Documents:

  • Recent tax returns
  • W-2 forms
  • A letter from your employer stating your employment status
  • If self-employed, business tax returns and profit and loss records
  • Bank statements
  • Retirement and brokerage account statements
  • Student loan or car loan statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Asset titles, including your current home(s) and vehicle(s).
  • History of residence (an informal list of your addresses for the past several years)
  • Proof of any additional income aside from your annual earnings, such as alimony, Social Security, bonuses, etc.
  • A gift letter, if applicable
  • Photo ID

1.7 To Help Buyers Through Closing and Beyond

Once the buyer’s offer is accepted by the seller, the agent plays a pivotal role in guiding the process to a successful close.

They:

  • Ensure all the necessary documentation is collected and correctly filled out. They review the closing document to spot errors and inconsistencies that could delay closing or cost buyers extra money.
  • Ensure that the financing is on track for closing, facilitate the exchange of necessary documents and information between the lender and the buyer, and address any issues that may arise promptly.
  • Oversee the agent diligently oversees the completion of last-minute tasks- execution of promised repairs and the moving of personal belongings
  • Answer any last-minute questions and provide support through the final steps of the home-buying process.

The agent also coordinates the crucial final steps of the home-buying process, which include:

  • Organizing the transfer of funds from buyer to seller
  • Manage the exchange of keys

The central role of a buyer’s agent is to stand as a reliable source of guidance and support for the buyer throughout the entire home-buying journey.

From understanding requirements, finding properties, choosing the right property, negotiating the price, to completing paperwork, real estate agents serve as invaluable companions, ensuring you make well-informed choices at every step. 


2. Why Sellers Need a Listing Agent?

Why do we need real estate agents as seller?

Selling your home can be time-consuming and very emotionally challenging, especially for first-time sellers.

Sellers generally have to do extra legwork in order to get their properties off the market at competitive prices. From legalities and processes to documentation and listing platforms – they have to manage it all; that’s why they need real estate agents more than anyone else.

Here’s why sellers need listing agents:

2.1 To Put the right price on your property

Pricing your home correctly is crucial to securing the best offer and maximizing the equity you’ve built. 

Homes listed at excessively high prices often linger on the market longer. Without a realtor, there’s a significant risk of underpricing. 

In fact, For Sale By Owner (FSBO) homes were sold for a median of $310,000 last year, markedly lower than the $405,000 median for homes sold with agent assistance, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

You’re practically leaving money on the table by not hiring a realtor! 

Real estate agents play a crucial role in setting the right price for your property, impacting how quickly it sells and for how much. Here’s how they achieve this: 

2.1.1 Market Knowledge and Data Analysis:

  • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): No one knows your neighborhood better than your realtor. They use a CMA to compare your property to similar homes (size, features, location) that recently sold or sold in the last 6 months or are currently on the market. This provides a benchmark for pricing. 
  • Market Trends: They understand current trends, such as buyer demand, inventory levels, and days on the market, to adjust the price strategically. 

2.1.2 Objectivity and Negotiation:

  • Emotional Attachment: Sellers can be emotionally attached to their property, leading to an inflated perception of value. Agents provide a neutral perspective based on market data. 
  • Negotiation Expertise: Agents are skilled negotiators who can present your property’s value effectively and navigate offers to get you the best possible price. 

2.2 Listing Your Property

Realtors do more than just putting a “for sale” signs, flyers, and newspaper ads. They can even help you list your property online to help you:

  • List your home online to reach potential buyers without leaving your house.
  • Filter out those genuinely interested in your property, reducing unnecessary showings.
  • Ensure your listing is seen by a broader audience, increasing the chances of better offers.

Your realtor can also help you:

2.2.1 List your Property on Multiple Listing Service (MLS):

A primary tool for realtors, the MLS is a comprehensive database for listing properties. Your realtor will list your home here, significantly increasing its visibility to both agents and potential buyers.

2.2.2 Navigating FSBO Listings:

For those considering For Sale By Owner (FSBO) to save on commissions, a realtor can still help you get on the MLS through a flat-fee MLS listing service. This way, you maintain control over the sale while benefiting from the MLS exposure.

2.2.3 Maximizing Your Home’s Appeal:

Realtors can guide you in crafting compelling property descriptions and using professional-quality photos to showcase your home at its best.

2.2.4 Ongoing Marketing Support:

Beyond listing, a realtor can enhance your selling efforts through consistent marketing, leveraging their network, and hosting open houses and virtual tours to attract more buyers.


2.3 Marketing Your Property

A crucial part of the listing agent’s role is developing a smart marketing strategy to showcase the property’s strengths.

They are the best to do this job because they know:

  • What buyers look for
  • What can possibly attract buyers in your case?

A listing agent helps you with professional photos, drone videos, engaging descriptions, and sometimes even virtual tours.

Why photos is important for selling your property.

Apart from the majorly utilized advertisement method of listing on MLS, realtors use e-mail marketing campaigns, television and website advertisements, printed material such as flyers and ads in newspapers and magazines, and most importantly, social media. Whoof!

And as 93% of homebuyers use online resources to find properties, and realtors who use social media sell 51% more homes than those who don’t, you
can see why realtors are savvy in these modern marketing strategies, which are essential to your sale!

Agents are skilled at arranging properties to maximize their appeal, using their keen eye for design to present your property in the best possible way. They understand the power of visual marketing, using top-quality photos, virtual tours, and even drone footage to showcase your property’s strengths. These marketing efforts increase visibility and interest, potentially leading to quicker sales and favorable offers. 


2.4 To Make Your Home Appealing

A realtor helps you prepare your home to look its best for buyers. This part of selling your home is really important and can help you sell your home for a good price.

Your realtor will tell you to clean up, get rid of clutter, and maybe put some things in storage. This makes your home look nicer and bigger.

They know all the little tricks to make your house more appealing, like fixing small things, brightening the rooms, and changing old curtains to let in more light.

If you can, your realtor might suggest putting some nice furniture in your house to make it look better for visitors.

They also think it’s a good idea to check your home for any problems before you try to sell it. This can make selling your home faster and easier.

Realtors advise skipping the big fix-ups because they take a lot of time and money. But if there’s a big fix that really needs to be done and could make your home worth a lot more, they’ll help you decide if it’s worth it.


2.5 Facilitate Property Showing

Showing your property to multiple buyers is something you would not want to handle on your own. You must respond quickly to all inquiries, including texts, calls, and emails, and be available for viewings from 9 am to 8pm daily to accommodate every buyer. But if you work with an agent, this becomes very easy.

  • They can arrange all showings, often providing 24-hour notice before a visit, ensuring you have time to prepare your home.
  • Realtors can advise you on making your home appealing by decluttering, cleaning, and depersonalizing, such as removing personal photos so buyers can envision themselves in the space.
  • Safety practices, like allowing only scheduled visitors and securing valuables, are recommended to protect your property and privacy.
  • Creating an Ideal Viewing Environment free of distractions, recommending that family, children, and pets are not present during showings to allow buyers to focus on the property’s features.

2.6 Coordinating Inspections and Appraisal

Agents also coordinate inspections, appraisals, and other necessary steps, simplifying the process for the seller. Their meticulous approach reduces the chance of mistakes that might otherwise disrupt the transaction or result in legal complexities. 

Negotiations are pivotal in any real estate transaction, and a skilled seller’s agent is an experienced negotiator who represents the seller’s interests.

They aim to secure favorable terms and a good price while managing discussions with potential buyers. Using their deep understanding of the market and negotiation expertise, these agents strive to strike a balance that aligns with the seller’s goals. 

 The outcomes of negotiations can significantly influence the final selling price and conditions, underscoring the importance of having a professional on your side.


2.7 Managing Offers and Counter Offers

Offers and counteroffers can be exhausting! They often lead to a lot of back-and-forth negotiations. You have to put in a lot of thought to ensure that both parties are satisfied. It demands attention and adjustment, and if you are a first-time seller, it can be mentally tiring to navigate through this.

An agent by your side in this case helps you to:

Understand and review the offer so that you can grasp every detail- from the specifics of the property to any additional requests made by the buyer. They also help you understand the earnest money, a good faith deposit used to secure an offer.

Draft an excellent counteroffer that matches your expectations while keeping your buyer interested. With counteroffers, your realtor can help you get the most value from your sale by adjusting the price and terms of sale, negotiating fixtures and fittings, etc.

Once you feel comfortable with an offer, your realtor ensures that they keep the momentum towards closing the deal. They help with signing to confirm that both parties are committed and ensure that the right actions are taken towards closing the deal.


2.8 Taking Care of the Paperwork

As the process advances, a seller’s agent takes on the responsibility of handling paperwork and ensuring adherence to legal standards. This involves creating purchase agreements, disclosures, and other crucial documents essential for a seamless and legally valid transaction


2.8 Handling Closing

Your agent can also help you when you are formally transferring ownership of your house to the buyer.

They can help you with:

  • Title Search: Search public records for any document that impacts the title of the property sold. We have discussed this in the transfer tax section, so we hope that is clear.
  • Document Preparation: Taking care of necessary paperwork required for the transfer of title.
  • Set the closing limit, which is feasible for both you and the buyer, so that you have ample time to prepare for the transactions.
  • Calculating the amount that is due and paying all the overheads.
  • Reading and evaluating all the documents.
  • And finally, signing documents.

Your realtor makes closing easy for you so that you get close to your asking price and close the deal successfully

📖 Also Read: Understanding realtor fees: What you need to know?

2.9 Guidance Throughout the Process

One of the most valuable roles of a seller’s agent is providing continuous guidance and support. 

With their skills and insights, agents are pivotal in ensuring a successful sale. MLS listings reach a vast network of real estate agents and potential buyers, significantly increasing the visibility of a property. This exposure increases the chances of finding a qualified buyer quickly and at a fair price. For MLS, it is crucial to have a real estate agent by your side. 

📖 Also Read: What to ask a realtor when selling?

3. Benefits of hiring a real estate agent

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Opting for the services of a real estate agent can have advantages like an understanding of the market and pricing fairness. They also have beneficial access to MLS listings and can save a lot of time in a buying or selling process. Realtors also have a technical understanding of pros and cons in any case, can give you insights on possible risks, and can also negotiate well on your behalf. 

3.1 Extensive Market Knowledge

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Real estate agents possess much knowledge beyond what online databases provide. 86% of buyers view real estate agents as crucial information sources.

These experts consistently monitor market data, trace recent sales, and analyze local economic indicators. Their extensive knowledge enables them to offer clients accurate pricing advice, ensuring sellers don’t undervalue their properties and buyers don’t overpay. By harnessing this expertise, you can make well-informed choices that align with current market conditions. 


3.2 Professional Networks & Experienced

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A real estate agent’s network holds more significance than mere introductions. Their connections with mortgage brokers, inspectors, appraisers, and title companies enhance the efficiency of your transaction.

Moreover, an experienced agent has encountered various situations and challenges, arming them with effective strategies. The National Association of Realtors’ 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reveals that buyers greatly appreciate an agent’s assistance in finding the right property and negotiating terms.

Having such professionals on your side would greatly increase your chances of being handed a suitable deal, highlighting the importance of a real estate agent’s professional network. 


3.3 Superior Negotiating Skills

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Negotiation is a refined skill developed through experience and insight. Their ability to interpret market information, anticipate counteroffers, and harmonize your requirements with the seller’s goals is essential.

A proficient negotiator can generate substantial savings by securing a lower purchase price, navigating repairs, or advocating for better terms. 


3.4 Agents Save Time and Energy

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Time is valuable, and real estate transactions can take up much of it. Agents act on your behalf, making the process more efficient by searching for properties, arranging showings, and handling paperwork. According to the NAR, 13% of FSBO sellers felt that paperwork was the trickiest task in the buying process.

NAR stats also show that, on average, it could take 5.4 months to buy a property without a realtor, whereas, with a realtor, the average time decreases by 22% to just 4.2 months! According to NAR data, around 89% of buyers used realtors in 2022. 

You can focus on your daily commitments by delegating these tasks to an agent. This time-saving aspect not only lightens your load but also guarantees that the transaction’s complexities are handled with utmost professionalism. 


3.5 Spot Potential Problems

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Property often has faults and errors beneath its surface appeal. Drawing on their experience, real estate agents can uncover hidden issues that might go unnoticed by an untrained eye.

Their watchfulness acts as a protective shield from structural matters to regulatory hurdles. Most buyers consider grasping the process and steps crucial when buying a home. By revealing these potential problems early on, agents prevent unforeseen obstacles from disrupting your transaction.

Their keen attention to detail lessens the chance of unwelcome surprises and boosts the overall security of your investment.


3.6 Expert in Paperwork

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Real estate deals come with a stack of paperwork, each document holding legal significance. This paperwork can be complex, bewildering, and prone to mistakes. A real estate agent’s skill in navigating through this bureaucratic maze isn’t just about convenience – it’s a protection against legal troubles.

They ensure all necessary documents are completed accurately and submitted on time. HomeLight says real estate transactions involve an average of around 18 pages of paperwork. Agents’ expertise in this field speeds up the process and shields you from the consequences of errors that could put your transaction at risk.


3.7 Understanding Complex Transactions

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The realm of real estate extends far beyond simple home transactions. Commercial properties, investment deals, and specialized transactions introduce complexities that call for specialized know-how.

An agent can dissect intricate contracts, evaluate potential risks, and comprehend the subtle market influences that shape these transactions.

Their experience handling such intricate deals equips them to offer guidance beyond the typical residential market, ensuring that your interests are well-protected. 


3.8 Privacy, Confidentiality, and Fiduciary Duty

Sharing private and financial details while dealing with real estate transactions is common.

Real estate agents have a special job—they’re dedicated to doing what’s best for you and ensuring your privacy is protected. This responsibility covers everything, from negotiations to paperwork.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 89% of buyers and 73% of sellers would either work with their agent again or suggest them to others.

This strong trust is built on the agent’s dedication to keeping your personal details and reasons private and safe from curious eyes. 

📖 Also Read: What not to tell a realtor when buying a house?

3.9 Access to property listings and databases

Real estate agents can access a wider range of listings, including ones that aren’t publicly shown, like off-market properties, pre-listings, and properties on the MLS.

This gives you more choices beyond what you see on popular websites. Plus, agents know what you like, so they can pick out properties that match your preferences.

This skill of connecting your preferences with hidden properties shows how dedicated they are to finding your perfect fit. 


4. When Do You Need a Real Estate Agent?

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The choice to hire a real estate agent often depends on the buyer’s or seller’s requirements and their confidence in completing a deal. In fact, most people also consider the savings of time and effort that a realtor can offer through their services. 

While some transactions might look easy enough to close quickly, there are times when it is smart to have a professional agent guide you. Here are some important moments when their knowledge can be very helpful. 

4.1 Complex transactions (commercial properties, investment deals)

Stepping into commercial real estate or investment deals requires a different level of knowledge than regular home transactions. Commercial properties have many details to consider, like zoning rules, leasing to tenants, and managing the property. Real estate agents specializing in commercial properties understand all these nuances and help buyers find properties that can grow over time and make a steady income. 

When it comes to investment deals, real estate agents are gold. They have information on market trends, rental values, and property appreciation rates. This helps investors make smart decisions that match their money goals.

They’re also great at assessing risks, forecasting potential profits, and handling taxes, which can all lead to better investments. Research shows that real estate agents make real estate investments successful, meaning more money for people who like to invest smartly! 


4.2 First-time homebuyers and inexperienced sellers

For first-time homebuyers, understanding the elements of a real estate transaction can be challenging.

You would come across words you’ve never heard before and processes that might be too complicated to comprehend.

Real estate agents become like teachers in these situations. They help buyers at every stage and explain all the fancy words in simple ways. They also help understand mortgages, which can make a big difference in your money. The National Association of Realtors says that 86% of buyers get their homes through agents, which shows how important their help makes things clear. 

Real estate agents can be super useful even if you’re new to selling homes. They know how to pick prices, understand people’s wants, and use cool tricks to get the word out about a property. The way agents use data usually means that homes sell for more money and don’t stay on the market long. This is better than when people sell their homes by themselves and don’t have pros helping them out. 


4.3 Navigating competitive seller’s or buyer’s markets

A skilled real estate agent is super important when there are more buyers than houses (seller’s markets). They help buyers find their dream home at the best possible price. 

When there are more houses than buyers (buyer’s markets), real estate agents help sellers choose the right price to get lots of offers while still keeping it fair. They understand what buyers like, what’s happening in the market, and the best time to sell a house. In both situations, agents give the right advice that can result in a better deal. Legal and contractual complexities 

Real estate agents know the local rules and what contracts are needed, making sure transactions follow all the legal rules. They’re also good at finding possible legal issues, like if a property has debts or fights over who owns it. Thus, they help buyers and sellers avoid lawsuits. 

📖 Also Read: Is it better to buy from an Owner or a Realtor?

5. What are the Alternatives to Traditional Real Estate Agents?

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New ways of buying and selling properties are emerging as the world changes. From flat-fee and discount brokerages to agents who offer fewer services and even people selling their own properties (FSBO), buyers and sellers today are free to choose if they do not wish to go via the traditional route.

Here are a few options that you should explore.

5.1 Flat-fee and discount brokerages

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Agent commission agents are usually 4-6% of the final sale price, which can be quite high, especially for expensive properties. To save money, you can hire a flat-fee broker for all the services you need.

These agents charge a fixed fee for their services, so you can hire them to handle specific areas of your deal. For example, if you are a seller and already have a buyer, you can use a flat-fee broker service to handle the paperwork or negotiations.

  • Listing Services: 

The flat fee lists a property on MLS and other relevant platforms. 

Estimated Price: $200 – $500 (may vary depending on location and provider). 

  • Marketing Assistance

Basic marketing materials (e.g., signage, flyers, virtual tours). 

Estimated Price: Included in the listing fee. 

  • Transaction Coordination

Handling paperwork and administrative tasks related to the transaction. 

Estimated Price: $500 – $1,000 (may vary depending on complexity). 

  • Negotiation Support

Assistance with negotiations between buyer and seller. 

Estimated Price: Included in listing fee or additional hourly rate. 

  • Limited Consultation

Providing guidance and advice on specific aspects of the real estate process. 

Estimated Price: $100 – $200 per consultation. 

  • Additional Services

Optional services such as professional photography, staging, or open house coordination. 

Estimated Price: Additional fees may apply based on the service requested. 

  • Buyer Representation

Flat fee for representing buyers in the purchase process. 

Estimated Price: $1,000 – $3,000. 

  • Customized Packages

Tailored packages offering specific services based on client needs. 

Estimated Price: Customized pricing based on selected services. 

Full-Service Option: 

Some flat-fee brokerages may offer a full-service option. 

Estimated Price: Typically higher than basic flat-fee packages, ranging from $2,000-$5,000. 

However, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons before deciding. 

Flat-fee brokers may not offer you the same services as traditional brokers, and you might be responsible for more of the selling process yourself. So before opting for their services, you must decide what is more important to you – saving money or the extra help of a traditional agent. 


5.2 Limited-service agents

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Limited-service agents offer a more personalized approach, acknowledging that not everyone needs the same amount of help. Even though you can save a lot of much with such services, remember that some tasks, like negotiations, will be your responsibility. 

This option can work well if you know a lot about real estate, bargain well, and have time to manage many parts of the process. Experienced investors who’ve done many deals might also like this option, as they can pick specific services that match their needs. 

A limited service agent can help you with: 

  • Customized Approach: Tailored services based on individual needs and preferences. 
  • Cost Savings: Potential for cost savings compared to traditional full-service agents. 
  • Negotiations: The client is responsible for negotiations with buyers or sellers. 
  • Transaction Management: Assistance with paperwork and transaction coordination. 
  • Marketing Assistance: Support with listing the property on MLS and other relevant platforms. 
  • Showing Coordination: Arranging property showings and managing inquiries from potential buyers. 
  • Contract Review: Reviewing contracts and legal documents related to the transaction. 
  • Limited Consultation: Providing guidance and advice on specific aspects of the real estate process. 
  • Experienced Investor Support: Catering to the needs of experienced investors who prefer a more hands-on approach. 

However, there are risks with limited service choices. People without much experience might not realize how difficult negotiations are or how complicated the rules can be, which could lead to problems later on.


5.3 Real estate attorneys

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Real estate attorneys provide help with the legal parts of deals instead of the marketing or bargaining agents. They give important advice about contracts, making sure all the legalities are in place. They help people deal with tricky legal problems that might come up. 

Here are a few cases wherein you may need to hire an attorney: 

  • When Dealing with Complex Contracts 
  • Navigating Legal Issues 
  • Avoiding Costly Mistakes 
  • Resolving Disagreements 
  • Ensuring Compliance 
  • Handling Unique Situations 
  • Protecting Your Interests 
  • Preparing for Litigation 
  • Navigating Investment Transactions 

Attorneys are useful when things get tricky, like when a property has legal issues, there are rules about how it can be used, or there’s a disagreement. 


6. What should you expect from your real estate agent?

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When you work with a real estate agent, you naturally have certain goals in mind. You want them to lead you through the twists of property deals. Here are a few things you should definitely expect from your real estate agent

6.1 Effective Communication and Responsiveness

Good communication is one of the main things you would hope for from a real estate agent. You want agents to tell you about property updates, how the market is doing, and how the deal is going. When an agent replies quickly and handles questions well, the relationship between the client and agent strengthens. Fast communication makes you trust the agent and lets them be part of your choices. 


6.2 In-Depth Market Knowledge and Insights

Clients look for real estate agents because they know a lot about properties. Agents should know what’s happening in the local market.

They should know about recent sales, how much properties are worth, what’s changing in the area, and what’s becoming popular.

When agents give you information and explanations, it helps you choose what to do. An agent’s skill in determining property values and guessing how the market will change is crucial for successful deals. 


6.3 Negotiation Skills and Advocacy

Negotiating is important in real estate deals, and you would want agents who are good at it. Whether they’re helping buyers or sellers, agents should be able to speak up for what they want while working with others.

Good negotiating can lead to good terms, the right prices, and deals that close without issues. You should know your agent is working hard to get the best result. 


6.4 Ethical Conduct and Fiduciary Duty

Real estate agents have a big responsibility to their clients. They’re supposed to legally and ethically put the client’s needs first.

You have a right to expect agents to care about what they want and to avoid any problems with interests.

Being honest, clear, and always doing what’s right is important. Agents need to tell you if there might be any problems, give fair advice, and make sure everything they do is about what the client wants. 


6.5 Professionalism and Expert Guidance

Clients see real estate agents as reliable experts who can help them through the complex parts of property deals. An agent’s professionalism isn’t just about looks.

It’s about knowing how the process works, paying close attention to details, and always giving the best advice.

Clients want agents to explain things clearly, teach them about choices, and give facts that help make important decisions. 


6.6 Resourcefulness and Problem-Solving

The world of real estate has its tough parts, and you hope that agents can find smart ways to solve problems. This could mean dealing with legal stuff, fixing property issues, or developing new ideas when things get tough.

You would want agents who can keep going even when things are hard and find answers that work out well. Agents must be quick thinkers and try different ways to make things work out. 


6.7 Empathy and Client-Centric Approach

Real estate agents should put clients first. Clients are all different and have their own needs and wishes.

A good agent knows this and changes what they do to fit each client’s needs. Being kind and understanding how the clients feel is important. This makes the relationship strong and helps the client have a good experience. 

📖 Also Read: Do real estate agents work on weekends?

7. How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

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Picking a real estate agent is a big deal to ensure your property deal goes well. With many choices, finding an agent who understands your needs, has the right skills, and wants the same things as you do is important.

Now, let’s look at things to think about that can help you choose the perfect real estate agent for what you need. 

7.1 Researching agent qualifications and experience

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When choosing a real estate agent, it’s important to check their qualifications and experience. An agent who knows their stuff and has done lots of deals can change how your deal goes.

Try to find agents with not only a real estate license but also special certificates that show they’re still learning and growing. Certificates like Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) or Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) can mean they’re experts in certain things. 

Also, an agent’s experience is a big clue about how good they are. Look at how many years they’ve been working, how many deals they’ve closed, and if they know about the area you’re interested in.

An agent who’s done lots of deals where you want to buy or sell knows the market better and can help with prices and bargaining.

Here is a small list of factors that can clearly indicate the qualifications or experience of a realtor: 

Qualifications: 

  • Real estate license 
  • Special certifications, such as: 
  • Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) 
  • Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) 

Experience: 

  • Number of years working in real estate 
  • Number of deals closed 
  • Familiarity with the area of interest: 
  • Deals completed in the specific location 
  • Knowledge of local market trends and pricing 
📖 Also Read: Can a Realtor be a Property manager?

7.2 Seeking referrals and checking reviews

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Getting advice from trusted people can help you find good agents. Friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors who’ve worked with agents can share their stories. Also, looking at reviews online can give you a wider view.

Websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Google My Business have places where clients leave reviews and ratings.

Remember, it’s normal for agents to have different reviews, but look for common things people say about them, such as how they talked, bargained, and were happy. 

  • Average Rating: Look at the average rating or star score that the agent has received across different review platforms. 
  • Number of Reviews: A higher volume of reviews can indicate a larger sample size and potentially more reliable feedback. 
  • Review Recency: Agents with recent positive reviews demonstrate ongoing client satisfaction and engagement. 
  • Review Content: Read through the content of reviews to identify recurring themes or patterns. 
  • Response Rate: A high response rate demonstrates engagement and a commitment to addressing client feedback. 
  • Response Time: Platforms may display response times, indicating agents’ efficiency and attentiveness to client interactions. 
  • Verified Reviews: Consider platforms that verify the authenticity of reviews to ensure credibility and accuracy. 
  • Performance Metrics: Some real estate websites provide performance metrics for agents, such as the number of homes sold, average sale price, days on the market, and client satisfaction ratings. 

7.3 Interviewing Potential Agents:

Talking to potential agents in interviews helps you determine whether they’re right for you. Make a list of questions that cover their skills and how they work with clients. Ask about what they know about the local market, recent deals they’ve done well, and how they deal with problems. When you interview them, notice how they talk to you because having a good relationship is important for working well together. 

Here are 10 questions you may want to consider asking your realtor:

  • Can you tell me about your experience and how long you’ve worked as an agent? 
  • What unique skills or qualities do you bring to the table? 
  • How familiar are you with the local market, and can you provide insights into recent developments? 
  • Could you share examples of successful deals you’ve recently closed? 
  • What can I expect in terms of responsiveness and availability? 
  • What is your average time taken to close a deal? 
  • How do you handle challenges during the buying or selling process? 
  • What resources or tools do you utilize to stay updated on market changes? 
  • Can you provide references or testimonials from past clients? 
  • How do you prioritize building and maintaining a strong relationship with your clients? 
📖 Also Read: 20 Obvious Signs of a Bad Realtor

7.4 Clarifying communication and expectations

Good communication is very important for a good relationship with your agent. Tell them how you want to talk, when, and in what ways you like to get updates. Also, say what you expect from them in the deal.

Do you want an agent who often tells you about the market and looks for properties? Or do you want them to step in only when needed? Ensuring you and your agent agree on things lowers the chance of problems later. 

When you check out agent qualifications, ask people you trust, look at reviews, do interviews, and set clear rules for how you talk and what you want, you’re making yourself smart about picking an agent.

A good agent doesn’t just help with the deal; they’re also like a friend who looks out for you and makes the real estate part easy. 

📖 Also Read: Decoding titles: Real estate agent vs Realtor vs Broker

8. FAQs

Do we need a real estate agent to buy preconstruction?

While not mandatory, having a real estate agent when buying preconstruction can be very beneficial. They offer expertise, negotiation skills, early access to projects, representation of interests, help with complex paperwork, and valuable market insights, making the process smoother and potentially more advantageous for you.

Do we need a contract working with a real estate agent?

Yes, when working with a real estate agent, it is standard practice to sign a contract. This contract, often called a “listing agreement” for sellers or a “buyer’s agent agreement” for buyers, outlines the terms of the relationship between you and the agent. It typically includes details such as the duration of the agreement, the agent’s commission, specific services the agent will provide, and the expectations from both parties. Signing a contract ensures that both you and the agent clearly understand your rights and obligations, providing legal protection and clarity for the duration of your working relationship.


We’ve explored many sides of property deals, and agents are valuable guides, supporters, and experts. They help buyers find properties, and sellers negotiate, and their experience is really helpful. We’ve also looked at times when their help is needed, like big commercial deals and helping new homebuyers in tough markets. 

The hard-to-replace qualities of a skilled agent make other alternatives, such as flat-fee brokers or limited-service agents, pale in comparison. When you engage in property matters with someone who focuses on rightness, honesty, and optimal performance, you work with a trustworthy expert. 

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