The Benefits of a Buyer’s Agent
In the do-it-yourself world we live in today, you can pretty much Google instructions on anything and everything. But if you are tempted to undertake the arduous task of buying a home without a real estate agent in your corner, take a moment to reconsider. There are a number of reasons why having a buyer’s agent is vital to the home buying process and it is important that you judge whether the benefits outweigh the risks prior to moving forward.
Let’s start with the most obvious reason. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), eighty-eight percent of sellers sold their homes last year with the assistance of a seller’s agent. If 88% of the sellers you are likely to encounter have a real estate agent backing their every move, what does that mean for you? The answer is nothing but trouble. Real estate agents are legally obligated to get their clients the BEST deals; a seller’s agent will never have your best interest in mind. If the home seller has a seasoned professional fighting in their corner, the only option you have to ensure you will not be burdened with buyer’s remorse is having an agent fighting the battle with you.
And what about Comps? For those who don’t know, “Comps” is real estate jargon for the value of a home, of which is determined by comparing the selling prices of homes similar in size and features within the same geographical area. Let’s say you fall head over heels in love with a property that is listed for $400,000. It is well within your budget and it seems like the perfect deal. Without hesitation, you place a full price bid on this property, thinking you have hit the jackpot. Unbeknownst to you, properties in that building (with similar square footage and the same number of bed and baths) actually range around the $300,000 mark. Ouch! You just paid $100,000 more than you needed to. It is a disastrous hypothetical situation that could happen to you if you choose to proceed without the help of a qualified buyer’s agent. Comps are only accessible by realtors, although some websites offer a subpar substitute (Zillow provides a “Zestimate”). These sites, although helpful, are not updated in real time and their estimates are exactly that, estimates. You may be a master of negotiations but your efforts will be fruitless, without knowing the actual value of your prospective home.
Another important reason for having a buyer’s agent is the mountain of paperwork that has to be dealt with. Deals, more often than not, can fall apart because a buyer is taking too long to complete the necessary documents in a timely fashion. While you are desperately trying to figure out what you are signing before submitting it, a counter offer from another interested buyer may get accepted. A buyer’s agent will take care of necessary paperwork and explain to you in layman’s terms what each contract or necessary form means. Realtors not only facilitate the completion of hard to understand forms, they can also ensure you are not agreeing to purchase a home that is in desperate need of repair, through inspections. After a bid on a house is accepted, inspection of a home is the best way for you to make sure you’re not spending a fortune on something that needs major repairs. If the results of an inspection yield costly repairs, your agent can negotiate to make sure this does not become your issue.
And how much will it cost you to purchase a house with the help of a buyer’s agent? $375 – That’s it! The seller’s agent splits her commission with the buyer’s agent so the only thing you pay is a small fee for processing and storage of your contract and all of the files related to your purchase for 10 years. You get all the benefits of an experienced advocate for pennies!! So, why do-it-yourself?