Making the decision to buy a home is a huge step, and one that will require you to embark on a long, sometimes stressful but highly rewarding journey. The stress aspect of this journey is as big reason why many people lean on a realtor for help to guide them. But is it possible to buy a home without a realtor? The answer is a bit more complicated than yes or no. You have to consider your needs, wants, and circumstances. But what are these? And how can you tell if you are ready to buy a home without a realtor, or if you should consider getting one to help you out? Keep reading this article to find out.
The Best Time to Work with a Realtor
It is always a good idea to work with a real estate agent. Real estate agents act as a third party representative who is there to advocate for you and negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal possible. Your realtor will also help in setting up home viewings on your behalf, taking into account your preferences, wants, and needs.
In addition to that, real estate agents are the ones who provide the best lenders, inspectors and other service providers that you need in case you decide on buying a house. A well-trusted agent also has access to in-depth data about neighborhoods, including a comparison of sales, neighborhood demographics, and the neighborhood’s history, among others. He or she should also know the latest happenings within the local market, and set realistic expectations for you based on this information.
It is possible to lean on the real estate agent who was hired by the seller of the house you’re interested in, but keep in mind that this agent will always have the seller’s interests at heart, not yours. Because of this, it is always best to hire someone separately so you know that your interests are protected and that you have someone in your corner.
If you’re a first-time homebuyer, it’s probably in your best interest to work with a professional real estate agent. You can do all the research you want, but until you actually experience the steps of the process as they play out, you won’t truly be prepared for the curveballs that the home buying process can throw at you.
When Not to Work with a Realtor
Buying a new home does not necessarily require you to get a real estate agent. This is because you can complete a purchase even without one. You can still view homes and even go to open houses, you’ll just have to put in the extra work to research and set up the appointments yourself. In the digital age, you can easily access all of the information you need to buy a home online, so you can definitely search for houses without the help of an agent. If you have the guts and motivation to get things done, then perhaps you have what it takes to go it alone. This might be for you if you’ve been through the home buying process before, and have a good idea of what it entails and what obstacles you may have to overcome.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Hiring a real estate agent has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are the pros and cons of both situations:
Advantages of Hiring a Real Estate Agent
- They are seasoned in their line of work. These are professionals that have gone through rigorous training and preparation to get their license. Not only that, but over the years they’ve built up experience and even more knowledge, always learning and honing their craft. They have the knowledge and expertise when it comes to the process of selling and buying a property. If you are a first time buyer or seller, working with an agent can really help you out.
- They can help you save tons of time and effort. The bottom line is, buying a house is much more involved and time-consuming than one might think. Once the initial excitement wears off, you can quickly start to become burnt out with the responsibility and time requirement that the process demands. Working with an agent can ease a lot of this stress, and you can have the confidence that your agent knows what’s best for you.
- Working with real estate agents means you have someone who can do the searching and calling the sellers for you. If you miss anything, it will also be the agent’s job to follow up on it. Often times, having an agent behind you as a buyer will say to sellers that you are a qualified, serious buyers. Sometimes, being a prospective buyer without an agent can hurt you. You won’t be taken as seriously as someone with a real estate agent. When you have the endorsement of an agent, sellers will be more open to scheduling tours with you and more eagerly anticipate receiving any potential offers.
- Agents act as the middle man in any transaction or negotiation you carry out with sellers. If you have concerns, questions, or confusion on anything, your agent will be available to address these for you and provide any information you need. The negotiation process can be difficult and anxiety-inducing for someone with no experience in the matter, so having an expert to work with you and stand by your side is invaluable.
- Because of this, they can negotiate a better deal for you. One of the most important jobs a real estate agent has is bartering with the seller and their agent for a lower price on the house, but not too low so that the seller feels stiffed. They’ll know exactly what the sweet spot is, and how to argue for that price. So if you are new to this, you can take comfort in knowing that an agent will do the job for you, no matter how tricky or sticky the situation may seem.
Disadvantages of Hiring a Real Estate Agent
Yes, there is no denying that working with a realtor makes the process so much easier but there are also a few disadvantages to it.
- You can only work with an agent on their own time. Problems may arise while your agent is unavailable to help you. You must keep in mind that your agent will have other clients, and they must cater to those clients’ needs as well as yours. You’ll be sharing their time, so they can’t always be at your beck and call.
- They are not home appraisers or lawyers so they can’t evaluate your house. They can give you a suggestion on how much you can sell your house but their job is to either sell your property or find one for you. You might need an appraiser and lawyer in case of legalities as your agent cannot do both for you on this.
To Hire or Not to Hire?
Generally, hiring a realtor can make your house purchase go much more smoothly than trying to tackle it alone. There’s a reason real estate agents are still in business. Oftentimes, taking on the overwhelming responsibility of buying or selling a home is a lot on top of everything else in a person’s life, especially when you’re going into it without any experience. It’s a breath of fresh air to be able to have an agent to contact when the process feels impossible, and if you find the right agent, the process will feel like a breeze. If you do decide to hire an agent, ensure that he or she is one you can trust to get the job done. Search local neighborhood groups and their website for reviews, and ask around among friends and family to see if they have anyone to refer you to. If you find a great agent who meshes well with your vision, it can really make the buying process feel effortless. However, if you choose an agent who doesn’t have your best interests in mind, you could end up worse off than you would have been if you didn’t hire one.
On the other hand, NOT hiring a real estate agent is certainly a possibility, and could definitely work for you if you have either the experience, will to learn, or both. You get to work at your own pace and you can hand-pick the homes you view. Whatever your decision is, make sure that it is realistic for your lifestyle and circumstances.