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During these difficult times, most people look for ways to save on costs. In real estate transactions, a lot of home sellers would like to save on costs to get a bit more from their home sale.
When you are talking about a $300,000 home, 5% is a significant amount to fork over to a real estate agent. That’s the average real estate commission that real estate agents charge.
But you know what? It’s money well spent.
Whether you are buying a house or selling one, you will be investing a lot of time and effort into your real estate transaction. Sadly, if you don’t have the time, the know-how, and the experience needed to pull-off a successful sale, your efforts might not pay off.
A real estate agent can make it so much easier, faster, and more profitable.
There is no law that says a home seller needs to have a real estate agent. Many people who try to sell their house by themselves do it for one reason only – to save the real estate agent’s commission. In this situation, the home owner will need to do everything including marketing and advertising, entertaining buyers, and negotiating offers.
There are some agencies online that offer private sellers with help regarding listing the property for a flat fee. But the success of your home sale will depend on you and you alone.
When you contact a real estate agent, he can assist you in determining the fair market value, advertise your home to potential buyers, bring in buyers to view your property, and oversee the process of negotiating an agreement.
With one look at your property, an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with your area will know the right asking price based on market comparables.
It may seem easy enough to come up with a price for your house on your own. After all, who knows more about your home than you do?
But here’s the catch – price it too high and you won’t get any offers. Price it too low and buyers will think there is something wrong with the property and have second thoughts.
If you don’t get any solid offers and the house languishes in the market, you may end up losing more money in the process.
Statistics show that homes being sold without an agent took a longer time to sell and more than 20% ended up being re-listed with an agent. Many home sellers who have tried to sell without an agent admitted to having experienced difficulties in selling their property.
One of the most persuasive arguments that home sellers hear about hiring a real estate agent is that an agent can get a higher price for the house. Is that really true?
To understand how it works and the role real estate agents play, let’s take a look at what typically happens with a buyer.
Frequently, a home seller has an emotional attachment to his property and is oblivious to “faults” that potential buyers see such as the décor, the smell, or the design and layout of the house.
A real estate agent acts as the sounding board for buyers and their agents regarding any complaints about the property. These comments can be passed on to the home seller so that the issues can be proactively addressed.
More importantly, a real estate agent can help a home seller to avoid this tricky situation by preparing the house well before the sale. A real estate agent can provide a home seller with useful tips and suggestions for staging a property for sale so that potential buyers will see the property at its best.
Most home sellers doing a private sale set their price based on 1) what they think their home is worth 2) how much cash they need to get from the sale and 3) how much profit they want to make from the sale.
Unfortunately, none of these things really matter in the real estate market. The sale price is dictated by supply and demand. Ultimately, the selling price is determined by how much the buyer is willing to pay for it.
The Right Selling Price Attracts the Right Buyers
Because of their vast experience and knowledge of the market, real estate agents know the value of a property based on factors such as location, size of the property, age of the property, demand, and sales trends in the last few months around your neighborhood.
A too-low selling price sends the message to buyers that something could be wrong with the property and overpricing a property also turns off potential buyers.
By setting the right price for the property, an experienced real estate agent can attract the right buyers and be able to get a good offer in the shortest time possible.
Another challenge in selling a house is deciding on offers received. Which one do you accept?
Home sellers are sometimes in a desperate situation to sell the house fast. The temptation to grab the first offer can be strong and the fear that no other offer will come along can override common sense. A good real estate agent, however, can skillfully negotiate the purchase price with potential buyers. Because he is not emotionally invested, he can carefully balance the need to make a fast sale with the need to get a good price for the property.
The bottom line: It takes a lot of time and effort to market and sell a house, especially in slower markets. Your home sale can benefit a lot from the expertise and knowledge of a real estate agent.
Now that you have a solid perspective of the real estate process, you are probably wondering why real estate agents get paid such a high price. Where does the money go?
In most provinces in Canada, a real estate agent may charge a 5% commission. This fee is paid only when the home sale is successfully completed. In the meantime, the real estate agent will spend on listing the property, marketing materials such as newspaper ads or flyers, communication with buyers and other agents, transportation, and sometimes, even pay for professional photographs.
At the completion of the sale, your real estate agent will split the commission with the buyer’s real estate agent (the buyer’s agent’s commission will be set prior to the sale, usually 2%). The real estate agent may also pay a certain percentage of the commission to his real estate brokerage.
If you think about it, the 5% commission, which seemed so huge at the start, has now dwindled. Considering the fact that the project could take anywhere from 10 days to 2 months, the real estate agent is working free of charge until the sale.
If you sell your house without a real estate agent, you may still need to pay a commission to the buyer’s agent. If you are unwilling to pay the buyer’s agent, many potential buyers will not get to see your property because they will be taken by their agents elsewhere.
When it comes to buying a house, there is ZERO reason not to have a real estate agent.
For one, a home buyer does not pay for the real estate agent’s commission. It comes out directly from the commission paid by the home seller to the selling agent.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 89% of home buyers used a real estate agent in 2012 in their home purchase.
What are the best reasons for home buyers to hire a real estate agent?
When you hire a real estate agent, their responsibility is to your best interests. You have an expert by your side who is legally bound to protect you. As real estate agents are bound by a code of ethics, they are expected to use their experience and expertise in helping buyers with their investment.
It is so easy to find properties for sale online. But while majority of home buyers start their home search on the internet, they often rely on a real estate agent to provide them with the data they need to make an informed decision.
Further, real estate agents have an active network of real estate professionals – from other agents and brokers to contractors, home inspectors, real estate lawyers, mortgage brokers, etc. No matter what you need during the process, your real estate agent can refer you to the right people.
The purchase or sale of a house is not as simple as choosing a travel destination. Each home is different, real estate regulations keep changing, and market conditions vary. While an average person engages in buying or selling a house every 10 years, a real estate agent lives real estate every day and stays current with market information.
By hiring a real estate agent, you can benefit from this expertise to have the best outcome for your real estate project.
Wouldn’t you want an expert on hand to answer all your questions before putting your money down on a house?
Of course, the decision whether or not to hire a real estate agent is yours to make.
You can always sell your house or buy a house on your own as long as you are prepared to take on all the risks and responsibilities.
Before you skip hiring a real estate agent, think carefully about how much time and effort you can devote to your real estate project. A house can sell in days in hot markets but as long as 3-4 months in slower markets. Without the right marketing techniques, your house could take much longer than needed to sell.
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