Should I Use An Agent, Or Can I Buy A House Without One?
Every buyer out there these days has the ability to search for homes using sites like Zillow, Redfin, etc., and now buyers can directly approach listing agents to help them write offers on these homes. From a bird’s-eye view, this seems to be a good plan. So the question is, if you have access to these sites and can go looking for houses on your own, why get yourself an agent to help you out?
We’ve given you just 3 of so many reasons this plan is not necessarily the most beneficial for the home buyer.
The first and most obvious reason is convenience. When you’re searching for homes, it can be quite a tedious task. Looking for hours and hours, and then calling each agent, hoping they answer or return your call, only to make an appointment to view the property on your own. When you have an agent representing you, all this becomes their task. They send you lists of properties, or give you access to a portal for you to view MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listings, and you tell them which ones you want to see, and when. They then make the appointments, talk to the agents and get backgrounds on each of the homes, and meet you to show you the homes.
Then there’s the convenience of gathering the pertinent property information. Suppose you find a home you want to make an offer on. You will then have to rely on these sites you’ve used in your search method to get you background history. But many times, the sites don’t have the most accurate information. Your agent can pull title profiles and documents related to the home, for you to get a full picture on the home you’re about to make an offer on. More often than not, when going directly through the Seller’s agent, they won’t provide this information to you since they have a dual responsibility, first to the seller and now to you. Your own agent will only have your best interests at heart.
You are not paying the agent. That’s right, the seller pays for the commission they are earning. Many buyers feel if they go directly to the Listing agent that they can somehow procure some sort of discount by offering to go with them. More often than not, that won’t be truly the case. The agent may offer up a small discount, but the service and buyer protection you would have with your own agent, would be substantially less with an agent who has to protect both sides.
Another “money” aspect is negotiating the contract. When you go directly with a listing agent, your negotiation power does not increase, it in fact, goes down. You have to remember, their primary relationship is with their seller. Yes you’ve offered to go through them so they can earn more commissions, but they have a contract with their sellers to get them a specific price in the sale of that home. So at the end of the day, they will not negotiate heavily on your behalf to get the deal done in your best interests. This includes key items that can come up during your due-diligence period. If there is a safety concern or something that needs to be repaired, having your own agent can be a great asset when conveying these concerns to the Selling side.
Due Diligence/Protecting you
Real Estate contracts are cumbersome. Yes, if you go through the listing agent, they will most likely go over these contracts with you. But they will also write the contract according to what will get the sale done, versus what will protect you.
Then comes your inspection/contingency period. This is the time where you gather pertinent information regarding the condition of the home, inspections, and title documents. Going through these documents, getting them understood and digging deeper into them would be a difficult task for anyone to do without proper representation. Your own agent will not only assist you in gathering these documents, but will also be your advocate in making sure you as a buyer are protected from making a bad investment.
A Realtor’s fiduciary responsibility is to their client. However, when they are representing both, this becomes cloudy. Even with the most educated buyer, you run the risk of not doing your proper due diligence without proper representation.
The Bottom Line
We live in a time where information is at our fingertips. Even when information is easily attainable, how can we sort through this information in a way that is easy to determine fact from fiction?
Yes, the search engines that provide home searches are well tailored to help you search. But that is all they are well tailored to do. Help you search for a home. Not help you buy. If your concern is a discount, why not discuss this with your own agent and come up with something that works for you, while still protecting you? Lastly, if you get into a difficult situation in the transaction, it can really be crucial having someone on your side helping you not only navigate through it, but advocate for your rights.
In the market and looking for an agent? Call us today and get matched up with an agent who will guide you through the ins and outs of the transaction. One Realty Group: 1.800.257.6021