So, you have your budget together, you have zero debt, and you have a 6-month emergency fund. Not to mention, you have enough money to put 20% down for a house! Congratulations! Now it’s time to ditch the apartment and experience the joys of homeownership! After work, you kick up your feet and start perusing the real estate listings. Then you begin to realize how much goes into purchasing a home. So, what do you do? You begin to realize that you need a real estate agent.
Why Do I Need a Real Estate Agent?
Why do I need a real estate agent? Can’t I do it on my own? Well, you can try it if you want! But having an awesome real estate agent on your team has many more benefits in the long run. Here are the top 10 reasons you need a real estate agent when you buy a house:
1. Using a real estate agent when buying doesn’t cost you anything
You might wonder, how does your agent get their commission? Doesn’t it come from your pocket? My friend, I have some great news for you! Typically, the seller pays the commission to the selling agent who then splits it with the buying agent. That means your agent will cost you nothing! Therefore, do your research and get yourself the best agent in all the land!
2. They will be honest with you when you go to look at homes
A couple of years ago, my wife and I found ourselves growing ever-so-tired of apartment life. As a result, we found ourselves catching a small case of house fever. An agent had contacted us a couple of months earlier, so we decided to take him out on a test run. Over time, we became very impressed with his honesty towards us. For every house, he pointed out areas that needed improvement or negotiation items. He even talked us out of several houses!
A good agent will point out the flaws and possess a critical eye as you go to look at houses. They will flat out tell you when they don’t believe a particular house is in your best interest. If you find a buying agent trying to sell you on a junky house, that means you need a new agent!
3. They bring negotiating power to the table
Many Americans have the inability to say “no” and offer alternative, mutually beneficial terms. That’s not the case with a top-notch real estate agent! An agent should have fierce negotiating skills as they try to get you the best deal possible. For example, they might negotiate for the seller to pay closing costs. Or perhaps they’ve found a few flaws and they argue that the seller should foot the bill. Their ability to negotiate will save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.
4. They look out for your best interest
About a year-and-a-half ago, my wife and I purchased our first home. However, the home-buying process proved to be stressful and a bit overwhelming at times. The home inspection revealed quite a few problems that needed immediate attention. But the seller tried to back out of a few items by trying to offer us a “credit” towards closing costs. When we expressed our concern to our agent, the tiger claws came out! He proved to us that he had our best interest in mind. While we did end up taking some money towards closing costs for some items, our agent made sure the seller paid to fix the most critical flaws.
Real estate agents depend heavily on referrals and networking. Therefore, they always want to make sure you have the best possible experience! And no, I don’t believe this makes them selfish. On the contrary, their best interest is your best interest! Plus, the seller will have an agent who looks out for them. Why wouldn’t you want someone to have your back, too?
5. They have an awesome network of other professionals
When we met our real estate agent, we had no idea where to begin with things like mortgages, lawyers, or anything. He recommended a mortgage lender to us, so we contacted him and he made the application process super easy. I applied with other mortgage lenders as well, and none of them had the same level of service as the one my agent recommended. Therefore, we went with our agent’s recommendation.
Top-notch agents have strong relationships with mortgage lenders, contractors, lawyers, home inspectors, and more. And no, your agent doesn’t get kickbacks from these folks. They are simply professionals who your agent trusts profusely. Your agent wants to make the closing process as stress-free as possible. Therefore, it’s in your best interest if they have recommendations for you.
6. They take the stress out of planning and scheduling house showings
It’s difficult to coordinate going to three or four different houses within two hours. Not to mention, for each house you have to contact the selling agent and schedule a time to go. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone did all that for you? That’s where your agent comes in! They can schedule showings, plan the routes, and even notify you of upcoming available listings.
7. Over time, they begin to understand your specific wants and needs
We had looked at several houses with our agent, but none stood out to us. At one of these houses, my wife made an off-hand comment about the size of the kitchen. It was way too small for our needs. Our agent wheeled around and said, “Wait, so you guys don’t eat out a lot?” No, we don’t. In fact, we cook almost every day! After that, he started recommending houses that had sizeable kitchens.
A good real estate agent picks up on the needs and wants of their clients. Do you want a front porch? How about a walk-in closet? A big backyard? An agent will help you find the home of your dreams! Just keep in mind that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” home. But your agent will find you the best possible options!
8. They can explain the whole homebuying process to you
Let’s face it, very few people have fun buying a house. You’ll find the homebuying process filled with complications, home inspections, legalese, and rigid. However, if you have a good agent on your side, they can walk you through the process one step at a time. They’ll take care of all the scheduling, the complications, and explain every step in easy-to-understand detail.
9. They will give you access to the Multiple Listing Service
Do you want the best and most up-to-date information on homes in your area? Then you need access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)! Yes, you can browse Zillow or Trulia to see what’s available, but these sites can sometimes be inaccurate. However, the MLS will notify you as soon as a home appears on the market! Your agent will enter your criteria into the system and boom! Notifications will start to appear in your email inbox soon afterwards.
10. They will understand the local real estate market
Finally, your agent should be an expert in the local real estate market. They know which areas to avoid, the neighborhoods that will increase in value, the best schools, and all the subtle nuances of local laws. This is especially important if you’re from out of town. After all, the last thing you want is for your dream home to turn into a nightmare!
Make Sure You Find the Best Agent for You
You can find a real estate agent just about anywhere. In fact, I bet your crazy Uncle Larry and his wife Frieda have a real estate license. However, you need to be picky when it comes to choosing an agent. Why? Because this is a six-figure transaction! You don’t let just anyone negotiate a $200,000 contract for you.
So, how do you find a top-notch real estate agent? First, listen to your friends. Many of them might have had a great experience with an agent and they would love to recommend one to you. On the flip side, they may have had a bad experience and they might recommend you stay away!
You can also use a trusted recommendation service like Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Provider program. While I haven’t used one of Dave Ramsey’s recommended real estate agents, I know several people who have and they all had raving reviews of their agents. Also, I personally know a Dave Ramsey-endorsed agent and they have some of the best customer satisfaction in the area.
However you go about it, make sure you ask a lot of questions as you make your decision.
Now, get out their and make your dream of homeownership come true!
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