Benefits of Using a Real Estate Agent
Deciding whether or not to use a real estate agent when you buy or sell your next home is a question that you might have asked yourself in the past. If you are not sure if it would be beneficial to use a Real Estate Agent, maybe this article can help.
The 2011 profile of homebuyers and sellers created and distributed by the National Association of Realtors shows that For Sale By Owners (FSBO’s) accounted for only 10% of home sales. Also the average FSBO listing sold for $150,000 while the average real estate agent assisted home sold for $215,000. While many people think that they can save time and money by selling the home on their own, this is often not the case. They also usually don’t always understand the trials that come along with selling their home FSBO. The Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers show the hardest tasks for a FSBO are:
• Understanding the housing market and listing their home at the right price.
• Understanding the paperwork involved and correctly filling everything out.
• Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale. This would be marketing the home, showing the home, responding to phone calls and emails about the home, etc.
• Determining whether or not they should spend extra money to prepare or fix up the home.
• Selling the home within a certain time frame.
Purchasing or selling a home is typically the largest investment most people will make in their lives. Whether you’re buying a new home or selling your existing home, a real estate agent can help protect your interests and potentially save you a substantial amount of money. We have compiled a list of benefits for both the homebuyer and seller.
Reasons To Use A Real Estate Agent When Buying A Home
1. A home buyer is usually not required to pay the real estate agent. When a real estate agent represents a home buyer on a purchase of a home, the commission earned by that agent is paid for by the seller of the home. The commission is taken out of the sales price.
2. Real estate agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is a serviced provide to real estate agent that gives them the most up today information on homes that are for sale in your area.
This service is not available to the general public. With the MLS an agent can find out information about the home like, taxes, how long it has been listed, price changes, special features on the home etc.
3. Agents have knowledge about the area. A real estate agent should be able to tell you about the neighborhood, schools, activities, recreational areas, etc. that are available in the areas that you are looking to purchase.
4. Agents know how to negotiate with the seller on your behalf. Negotiating the price of a home can often get very difficult. In today’s market it is not uncommon to ask for closing costs to be paid, repairs to be completed, home warranties, or inspections. Often real estate agents are able to negotiate items in the home like washers/dryers, refrigerators, or furniture into the sale of the property. Your real estate agents job is to make sure you get the best deal.
5. Agents keep the deal going. Once your offer has been accepted you will have a lot of tasks that need to be completed in a short amount of time. Your agent can help you keep track and orchestrate all the tasks required in the buying process.
Reasons To Use A Real Estate Agent When Selling A Home
1. A real estate agent is worth the commission. Once you actually consider all the things your agent will do for you from the time they list the home to the time it sells, the commission paid to that agent is usually money well spent. Often times an agent will be able to help you get your home sold much faster and for more money than you could have on your own.
2. Agents understand the current housing market. Choose an agent that lives in your area. This agent will understand the neighborhood, home values, benefits of the area, and the local competition.
3. Agents know how to sell your home. This is their job, and just like any other job if they don’t do a good job they get fired. A real estate agent is a professional and should know what they are doing. It is often a good idea to get an agents track record prior to letting them sell your home. Selling any home takes experience, dedication and knowledge in this market. Their job is to attract buyers and sell the home.
4. Agents know what will make houses sell. Your agent will be able to give you advice on what could be done to the home to get it sold quicker. Anything from staging the home to making minor repairs or upgrades.
5. Agents will put your home on the MLS. A real estate agent has access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This tool is only available to real estate agents and allows them to get your home in front of thousands of other agents and buyers.
6. Agents know how to market your home. Your agent will know what to do to market your home for sale, whether that is an open house, internet exposure, flyers, caravans, etc.
7. Agents represent you to the end. Your agent will represent you from the time the home is listed to the time is closes escrow. An agent’s job is to make sure your interests are protected in the sale of the home and every thing negotiated in the contract is fulfilled. If a problem arises at or after closing your agent is there to help resolve any issues.
Real Estate Agent – What is It?
A real estate agent is a person that is used as an expert to facilitate the selling of real estate. In my opinion, a real estate agent should be open to new things, including innovative marketing ideas and cutting-edge changes that impact buyers and sellers. A real estate agent should be someone who listens to buyers, sellers and renters to figure out what the public hates about agents and proactively make changes in their own business plan accordingly. A real estate agent should have business hours that are applicable to other professionals that are paid thousands of dollars per transaction.
A real estate agent should practice their skills by using them everyday. A real estate agent should not be part-time in the business. This means they should not have a full-time job and sell real estate when they need some extra money. A real estate agent should be skilled at keeping their cool when something goes wrong. A real estate agent should be professional and never hang up on a client or another real estate agent, no matter what was said or done.
A real estate agent should be responsible to learn, understand and keep up with all marketing tools that could and probably should be employed in selling or buying a home. The fact that a real estate agent is “not comfortable with the Internet” when most homes are now sold via the viewing on the Internet by a buyer is no longer an excuse. A real estate agent should be diligent about understanding modes of communication and marketing via every type of media from which a buyer can search and ultimately buy a home.
A real estate agent should not have to turn on their fax machine when they return from the store. They should be in business, full-time, and be set up to do business anytime inside their business hours. A real estate agent should not leave town without backup and just leave a deal hanging as a result. No one cares that the real estate agent is on vacation other than the agent himself. A real estate agent should never tell a seller that open houses don’t work, when in fact, open houses sell properties, everyday. A real estate agent should never be so in-the-box that they laugh at someone for discussing the use of a St. Joseph’s statute. They shouldn’t scoff at the fact that apple pie scent may or may not sell a house just because they don’t want to go to the trouble to explain what may or may not work to the seller.
A real estate agent should not cry when a seller tells them that they no longer want to sell their home or that they are not going to use them to sell the home. A real estate agent should not steal yard signs from lawns or directional signs from subdivisions just because someone did not choose to list the house with them but a competitor. A real estate agent should not bash other business models. They should simply point out the things that they bring to the table and why they feel their business model works better.
A real estate agent should not open the house for a buyer and let them stay in there alone, just because the buyer looks nice. A real estate agent should always look at the identification of a buyer because they recognize that they are responsible for the seller’s property. A real estate agent should always be grateful that someone is willing to pay them thousands of dollars for a job that has never been fully explained to the public as to how little knowledge an agent needs and how little you’re trained when getting your license.
America is unfortunately the only place where all of these standards, or should I say the lack of standards, are applauded everyday as good and acceptable behavior. The public needs to be reminded that an overwhelming number of inexperienced, part-time real estate agents hold in their hands the fate of most people’s largest asset. When will we put our foot down and say enough is enough… real estate is a real profession that requires skill, knowledge and a constant reach to perform strategies and results for clients.
All About Real Estate Agents
Who Are They…
Real estate agents are professionals instrumental in connecting the buyer with the seller.
Additionally, many real estate agents manage rentals wherein they introduce tenants to landlords and oversee the maintenance of the property on behalf of the landlords.
In most areas real estate agents are required to be highly educated, licensed and are regulated by a governing body.
Some real estate agents are also Realtors.
To use the title Realtor, a real estate agent must be a member of the National Association of Realtors which in addition to a number of other requirements, requires Realtors to adhere to a strict code of ethics and offers Realtors additional educational and designation opportunities.
Though not required by rule or law, it might be a wise decision to seek the services of a Realtor.
What Do They Do….
Real estate agents bring together two or more interested parties, perform those steps necessary to successfully conclude a transaction and charge a commission for their services.
For sales transactions, they charge commission to the seller while for rentals, commission is typically charged the landlord.
Real estate agents generally calculate their fee as a percentage of the selling price (in the case of a sale) and as part of the rent for rental units.
How Do They Do It…
People who want to sell or rent their property leave details of their property with the real estate agent.
Along with all property details the real estate agent will typically have keys to the house to facilitate showings.
The other interested party (i.e. the buyer/tenant), gets access to this information and to the property by contacting the real estate agent.
That’s how the real estate agent becomes a hub of information.
Contrary to some common misconceptions, real estate agents typically represent the seller or the buyer but rarely both.
Why Should I Use One…
First and foremost, to protect yourself. Real estate transactions are highly regulated, highly paper (document) intensive transactions.
The real estate agent possesses an in depth knowledge of the laws, rules, regulations, disclosures and documentation necessary to successfully complete the transaction to the satisfaction of the buyer, the seller and the law.
Because real estate agents are most familiar with local real estate market conditions, it is wise and makes sense to seek the advice of one to get an idea of the current trends and pricing for properties within that market.
A good real estate agent will know the prices (or price range) of various properties of different types and at various locations within the region.
Because of the real estate agent’s knowledge and expertise, property sellers often get a few thousand dollars more for their property.
Many home seekers, including seasoned real estate investors use the services of real estate agents to locate the best real estate bargains in the easiest and quickest manner.
Furthermore, the best agents analyze the wants and needs of a home buyer/tenant and provide valuable input as to the kinds of properties available to them within their budget. Therefore, a good real estate agent will not just present a list of available properties to the buyer/tenant but will actually discuss their needs and make suggestions.
The good real estate agent, working in this manner benefits in at least two ways…
First and most obviously, when the real estate agent is able to successfully complete the transaction the commission is earned and the real estate agent is paid…
and secondly, if they make the customer/client happy they earn a good reputation and often receive referrals (hence more business).
It is worth noting that there is a myth floating around that real estate agents only work on behalf of the seller, buyer beware.
This is not written in stone nor is it always the case. Real estate agents are, in most regions, highly regulated.
With few exceptions, real estate agents work either for the seller (as is the case with many listing agents) or for the buyer (as is the case for a buyer’s agent).
Additionally, some areas allow for dual agency where an agent can work for both the seller and the buyer or as a transaction broker where the agent represents the transaction itself and neither the seller nor buyer individually.
However, in the case of dual agency/transaction brokerage, note that rule, regulation (law) and ethics do not permit the agent to act in favor of either party while in detriment to the other.
If you are unsure of the relationship between you and your real estate agent, do not hesitate to ask.
How to Look for a Good Real Estate Agent
You may be planning to sell your home or buy a new home. Either way, you’re probably looking for a great real estate agent.
Realtor, Real Estate Agent – is there a difference?
There are Realtors® and there are real estate agents. These are not synonymous terms. A real estate agent is licensed to “represent a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for commission.”Real estate agents typically work for a real estate broker or Realtor.
A Realtor also is licensed and may sell real estate as either an agent or a broker. There are completely ethical real estate agents and Realtor®. The primary difference is that a Realtor has made an additional commitment to honor the 17-article code and profession of the real estate business.
The search and some questions
Looking for a great real estate agent means that you will be asking questions, so let’s start building your list of questions:
- Referrals: ask your friends, colleagues, and relatives for referrals. Most people who have had a positive experience working with an agent will gladly describe their experience and why they feel their agent was exceptional.
- Referrals from professionals: it is certainly appropriate to ask real estate agents for referrals. Financial institution representatives, especially mortgage brokers, are likely to be aware of exceptional agents.
- Open houses: going to open houses is a great, non-threatening way to meet estate agents. Pay attention to the agent’s manners and appearance, his/her professionalism, and the quality of promotional material provided at the open house. Does the agent seem knowledgeable about the property and the local market? Is the agent ready to point out the home’s features, or does he basically ignore visitors?
When you have a generally favorable impression of an agent, be sure to collect a business card and make notes of your observations.
- References: plan to interview several agents before making a decision and signing a buyer’s agreement. During the interview, ask each candidate to provide referrals of recent clients and call those referrals.
Among the questions to ask are what were the asking and selling prices of their properties, and how long the home was on the market?
Take time to look up the estate board of licensing services to confirm that the candidate is currently licensed and whether any complaints or disciplinary actions have been filed against the agent.
- Experience: how long has the agent been in business? You should be looking for the agent who thoroughly knows the local market in which you are selling or planning to buy your home. It takes time to build expertise and market knowledge. One agent recommends that any viable candidate should have at least five years’ experience.
Is the agent full- or part-time? You should expect, and ask for, a full time agent.
When evaluating the qualifications of estate agents, look at their websites and current listings. Your future agent should be web and technology savvy, using all current media to help you find your perfect home or sell your current one. The agent should also be able to communicate reliably and regularly using the form(s) of contact you prefer – fax, phone, text, or e-mail.
Ideally, your prospective agent is busy but not too busy to effectively represent you. If you feel that the candidate is not committed to giving your sale or purchase full and enthusiastic service, or is prepared to hand you over to an “assistant”, move on.
Your agent should be realistic about pricing, marketing, and representing you as the seller or buyer.”If it sounds too good to be true… ” can apply to estate agents and services, too. Trust your powers of observation and intuition. When you combine them with the information you have gathered from your interviews, you will be ready to make a well-informed decision.
Becoming The Greatest Real Estate Agent In The World
The GREATEST real estate agent in the world is an interesting topic of conversation as well as being a contest.
Now, let me explain first that I do not consider myself the “Greatest real estate agent in the world Panama City, Florida!” but I do consider myself a very adept and professional real estate agent who offers the finest real estate services in
However, this sounds like a fun contest and I thought I would enter and have a little fun with it.
So, let’s begin…
I believe there is much more to the true nature of being the “Greatest real estate agent in the world”, I also believe that it’s about understanding, learning and offering the greatest real estate services available. Anywhere!
What goes into being the “Greatest real estate agent in the world“? Well, in my opinion there are allot of things agents can do to help their primary focus of selling real estate and assisting their customers in purchasing real estate:
Advertising – The agent must be focused and advertise not only to achieve a strong market penetration, but also be able to reach the most qualified readers for their advertisement.
Market and Product Knowledge – The agent must maintain a strong and thorough knowledge of their local real estate market. To this they must spend hours researching sales and listings, expired listings and withdrawn listings.
Honest and ethical – One trait I believe sets the “Greatest real estate agent in the world” apart from other agents is their ability to be honest and hold their morals and ethics to the very highest of standards! Their dealings with not only their clients and customers must exemplify high moral and ethical behavior, but also their dealings with other real estate agents as well as supporting professionals such as Loan offices, builders, contractors etc.
Investment foresight – I believe another strong trait is the ability to be able to discern which properties make the strongest case for their clients and customers investment strategy. Not only being able to calculate rates of return, Gross Rent Multipliers, Potential Gross Income and other variables but also understanding how these variables affect the purchase of a customers or clients real estate investment strategy!
Technology insight – Being able to not only understand the technology that exists today to assist a real estate agent in their business but also having the ability to apply that technology is a paramount consideration today.
As technology becomes a more important part of our daily lives, it also becomes a primary tool to provide additional services and assistance to real estate agents clients and customers.
The application of technology, aside from having a website is no easy task. After all, the expertise of real estate agent is selling real estate! However, the ability to utilize and implement effectively the available software and hardware in an agents business will allow that agent to be recognized as a leader in their market and industry.
These are but a few of the factors that go into making the “Greatest Real Estate Agent in the World” a reality for any real estate agent in today’s highly competitive real estate market.
In my opinion, there is so much to becoming the greatest, that to actually decide who this person is would be beyond the abilities of most experts today.
However, we as real estate agents must continue to strive to be the best we can be for our local market place. Our eye on the prize of being the “Greatest Real Estate Agent in the World” should remain our focus through out our careers.
FAQs Every Home Seller Should Read Before Hiring a Real Estate Agent
Before you hire a real estate agent, read the answers to your most important questions.
Will a property I sell myself be at a competitive disadvantage compared to properties sold by real estate agents?
No-and in many ways, you’ll have an advantage. First of all, today’s buyers find their homes on the Internet on their own time. If they like your home, they’re going to contact you no matter what-and the odds are good that they’ll be happier dealing with you than with an agent. It is no secret that a huge number of homes are not selling and expire before the agent ever gets the home sold. Do a Google search and you’ll see the amount of training material the real estate industry offers to teach their agents how to persuade sellers to renew their listings for a year. There is no magic in what a real estate agent does.
To give you an example of the advantages of selling your home yourself, think about signs. When you list with an agent, they get to place a mini billboard in your yard that includes a tiny bit of advertising for your home and a huge amount of advertising for their company. The whole industry should have moved on to customized signs a long time ago-but they haven’t. You’ll have a significant advantage by tailoring your on-the-ground marketing plan to your home, including your FOR SALE sign.
Do homes sell for more when listed with a real estate agent?
That’s what the National Association of Realtors funded by real estate agents says, but there’s no independent data to support their statistics. If a real estate agent tells you they can get you more money for your home, ask them to bring you a buyer; if they can’t, they need to leave you alone to sell your house. Far too many listings handled by agents expire, unsold.
An agent’s opinion is not going to get your home sold. It’s easy for people to make guesses and conjectures, but to win in today’s market, you have to deal with hard facts.
How much time and effort is this really going to take?
It takes about as much time to sell your house as it takes to plan a long vacation. The marketing side requires the most time up front, but once you’ve gathered your facts, it shouldn’t take you more than a few hours to get your marketing plan started. You’d have to gather that same information for an agent, if you used one. And the process has been streamlined for you on sites like simpleandsold.com.
If you’re skeptical, take the amount you’d pay in commission to a real estate agent and divide it by the number of hours it takes to plan a vacation. The result should help you see that time you put into selling your house will be time well spent.
A real estate agent told me it would be dangerous to sell my own home, since I’d be letting strangers in my house all the time. Should I be worried?
Unfortunately, you’re going to have to let strangers in your home to sell it. But you would have to do this with or without a real estate agent, so this is almost a moot point. Remember that you can open your home any way you want: you can take down information for safety purposes; you can schedule your viewing appointments so that you won’t be alone in the house; and you have the right to stop the process if you ever become uncomfortable with a person’s presence. This is something even real estate agents face.
Do I need to use a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to get the exposure I need for my home?
First, you should understand what MLS is. It was not designed as a marketing venue for homes; rather, it’s a simple way for brokers to negotiate compensation with each other, so that Real Estate Agent A can tell Real Estate Agent B, “Sell my listing and I will pay you X.” Period.
My local MLS, which was named #1 in the country, is still way behind the times. It allows me to upload approximately eight tiny (two-by-two-inch) pictures and about three sentences of description. I’m not even allowed to link to anything. How is that a viable marketing tool?
Look at Zillow, Trulia, and Yahoo! Real Estate and you’ll see how much the MLS has been eclipsed. It’s become just an outdated method for real estate agents to protect their turf. Some systems are not even Mac compatible.
With Simple and Sold, you can put your home up for viewing on hundreds of websites, and you can add up to thirty-six large, high-definition photos in your listing. You can have paragraphs of description about your home. You can attach listing brochures and other files, which interested buyers can view online or download. You can add background music or a voice-over about your property’s features; you can provide links to area schools and anything else you want.
What is the NAR?
NAR stands for the National Association of Realtors, the lobbying group listed at #4 on opensecrets.org’s list of political heavy hitters. It’s the organization about which Joe Nocera of the New York Times once wrote: “You have to wonder sometimes what they’re smoking over there at the National Association of Realtors.”
According to Bloodhound Realty Blog, The NAR has stayed under the radar while doing a monstrous amount of damage to the economy, the housing market, and most importantly, the consumer. Bloodhound Realty Blog states (this blog does a great job of exposing the NAR), “It was the NAR that lobbied for each law and rule change that resulted in the housing boom, the sub-prime lending catastrophe, the wanton bundling of fraudulent loans, the ongoing subsidization of the secondary mortgage market, etc. The villain behind all the villains in the collapse of the American economy is the National Association of Realtors.”
“The real estate licensing laws, written in their original form by the NAR, exist to limit competition in real estate brokerage, eliminating alternative sources of real estate brokerage to artificially sustain higher commissions for NAR brokers”
John Crudele of the New York Post recently stated: “The real estate industry lives by the motto: “location, location, location.” Next week it’ll be known for “deception, deception, deception.” People want the truth and the NAR is deceiving the public all to save the sacred real estate commission. Crudele also reports: “The National Association of Realtors admitted that it has been reporting bad figures on sales… Jeez! Tell the truth!… The Realtors aren’t doing the country any favors by sugar-coating their stats… and the people at NAR don’t seem to be bothered by the practice.”
Don’t most people trust real estate agents to get them the best deal?
Unfortunately, people don’t trust them. In the most recent Gallup poll, they ranked lower than bankers but higher than congressmen in terms of ethics.
In all fairness, it’s not the behavior of real estate agents that has been unethical; it’s the way their organization, the NAR, has worked to block their competition. As I see it, and as most Americans see it, competition is for the competent. You own your home, so you should have the choice to sell it any way you choose.
The NAR got a public slap on the wrist in 2008 from the Justice Department when the organization tried to stop real estate agents without a physical office from participating in MLS. The Justice Department had to sue the NAR to allow mobile, internet-based brokers-the kind who operate from laptops and Starbucks instead of fancy offices-to practice their trade.
I think the NAR should be ashamed of making taxpayers pay for this lawsuit, which (in the words of the DOJ itself) “requires NAR to allow Internet-based residential real estate brokers to compete with traditional brokers.” The Department said the settlement would enhance competition in the real estate brokerage industry, giving consumers more choice, better service, and lower commission rates. NAR is now bound by a ten-year settlement to ensure that it continues to abide by the requirements of the agreement.
But don’t Realtors operate under a Code of Ethics?
Ironically, the NAR emphasizes a “Code of Ethics” for all its members-but at the same time, they have been called on the carpet for deceptive statistics on homes sales.
In my opinion, anyone who needs an organization to tell them how to be ethical probably doesn’t understand the code of ethics that they’re swearing to uphold.