Real Estate Agents
Should you hire a real estate agent, and if so which one? Learn how real estate agents can help you and how to find a good one.
Real estate is a huge business in the United States. In 2020, 518,800 individuals were employed as real estate agents or brokers in the country. Also, there were 5.64 million existing homes sold. Some of those homes were sold by agents or brokers, and some were not. If you are selling your home or trying to purchase a new one, you might wonder if you need a real estate agent to help you.
There is no law stating you are required to have a real estate agent to buy or sell a home. However, having one to represent your best interests is often a good idea. Real estate agents have certain types of training homeowners do not have. To figure out if you need one, you must consider your personal situation and weigh the pros and cons of real estate agent involvement. If you do choose to hire a real estate agent, you also need to choose wisely. Not every agent has equal skills or experience.
When to Hire a Real Estate Agent
Not every situation requires you to have a real estate agent. It is a personal decision to hire one or not. However, there are many situations in which you can benefit from the expertise of a real estate professional. If you are trying to buy a home the biggest reason to use a real estate agent is doing so is usually free. It is the seller who typically pays agent fees. Also, an agent can do the following for you when you are looking to buy a home:
Access a Large List of Properties for Sale
Quickly Point Out Properties in Your Price Range
Provide Information to Assist with Buying Decisions
Prepare Paperwork for You
If you are selling a home, the situation is a bit different. Since you must pay fees to any agent you choose, it is important to make sure you actually need one. There are many aspects that go into selling your home, such as dealing with appraisals and inspections. Marketing is also a concern. If you want to sell your home quickly, you need to price it properly and make sure the listing is seen by as many potential buyers as possible. A real estate agent can do that for you. He or she can also quickly spot and notify you of any problems due to a large amount of experience in the industry.
Real Estate Agents and Home Worth Calculations
Estimating the value of a home is one of the most important aspects of real estate. Whether buying or selling, you need to know what the market value of the home is. That is the best way to ensure a price is negotiated that is fair to everyone. Evaluating home worth is no easy task. Many factors can impact property values, including the size of the home and the type of neighborhood it is in. The number of other homes in the area that are currently for sale can also drive the price up or down.
There are ways you can estimate the value of your home yourself. For example, you can use online tools like the one provided by Rocket Homes. However, a local real estate agent often has more details about the current real estate market in your area. Therefore, he or she might give you a more accurate and up-to-date estimate.
Types of Real Estate Agents
When you are buying a home you do not need the same services as when you are selling a home. That is why listing agents exist who specialize specifically in assisting with home sales. Similarly, buyer's agents specialize in assisting with the purchasing of new homes. Although, there are some agents who provide buying and selling services. Make sure you hire an agent with experience in the aspect of real estate relevant to your needs.
You can also opt to use online real estate agent websites to assist you with buying or selling a home. Such services compile real estate information from around the country for you. That information is organized and compiled in such a way that it allows you to quickly find homes as a buyer or make decisions about how to list your home as a seller. Some o the top online real estate agent websites include:
How to Locate a Local Real Estate Agent
There are multiple ways to find a local real estate agent. One of the best options is to get recommendations from people in your personal network who have recently successfully bought or sold homes in your area. You can also inquire at your local Chamber of Commerce to see which local agents are in good standing or search online for agents operating in your area. Another option is to use this tool, which allows you to find agents who are recognized and certified by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Evaluating Real Estate Agents
There are multiple real estate agents working in most areas. Therefore, taking the steps above to locate one may result in assembling a lengthy list of agents who seem right for you at face value. Knowing how to evaluate them can help you select the one that is truly best suited to assist you. Prepare questions ahead of time to ask when interviewing each agent on your list. Also, make sure the agent you select has:
Documented Recent Success in Buying or Selling (Depending on Your Needs)
Demonstrable Marketing Knowledge
Reasonable Business Hours and Scheduling
Willingness to Sign Contracts
Knowledge of the Geographic Area in Which You Wish to Buy or Sell
Making Your Final Selection
Do not rely on answers to questions alone when selecting a real estate agent. Consider the agent's willingness to go the extra mile and volunteer additional information. Also, make sure the agent makes you feel completely comfortable. Do not discount your instincts. If an agent does not seem friendly and easy to work with, select another. The process of buying and selling is often lengthy. You need an agent you can trust.