Buying or selling a house (or doing both at the same time) is a massive undertaking. Moving your whole life is a challenge no matter how much of a minimalist you think you are, and finding a home that vibes with the future you want to build and saying goodbye to a home that held your household for a while is an emotional thing. Couple all these intense feelings with the practicalities of listing, searching listings, attending showings, researching neighbourhoods, choosing prices, negotiating, offering prices, sorting out inspections and making the final deal, and you have a recipe for overwhelm and stress.
One common solution to these emotions is to seek out an agent to help you with the buying or selling process. At first, many people wonder why they might want an agent seeing as it will result in a more expensive purchase or a little less money upon the sale of your home (agents take a percentage of the house’s selling price as their payment). Once someone has gone through the process, however, they tend to lean in favour of working with an agent. The following will explore some of the reasons you might want to work with an agent.
First and foremost, there are legal standards when it comes to buying and selling a home as well as when living in it. For example, there are legal codes determining whether or not you have insurance fire coverage depending on the status of your fireplace should you choose to light a fire within it. Without the help of an agent, there’s a chance you might not learn that your fireplace does not meet the standards required, isn’t certified, and so should the home burn down after you lit a fire within it, damages will not be covered. This is just one of the countless possible legal considerations that an agent can keep you aware of throughout the home search process.
Understanding The Neighbourhood
Another major factor when searching for a home involves gaining an understanding of the neighbourhood within which it’s located. Moreover, real estate is heavily dependent upon location. Yes, on your own, you can drive around the neighbourhood at different times of day to get a feel for things (and absolutely you should do this), but an agent from the area will have access to buying and selling history to give you an idea of the value of property in the area and the potential value of it in the future.
An agent can also give you an idea of what the cap on the property’s value is. Some neighbourhoods are limited in what you can do to increase a home’s value. For example, in some locations refinishing a basement won’t earn you your money back in the home’s value when you sell because people who tend to shop in the area aren’t willing to spend that much more whether or not the basement is finished.
Similar to gaining an understanding of a neighbourhood, a local real estate agent can help you understand how the climate and terrain might impact your experience of owning a certain home. This is particularly important if you’re moving quite a distance from where you’ve lived in the past. In the spring, does the whole neighbourhood’s basements flood? What sort of costs are associated with a system needed to protect your basement.
Perhaps in the winter, the winds get intense in the area, and the snowfall is heavy, and so there are additional home maintenance tasks you need to be aware of in the winter. You might quickly decide that a home isn’t right for you depending on the seasonal work it requires. Some jobs and lifestyles don’t have space for several extra hours of work each week.
One of the skillsets that are crucial in home buying and selling is negotiation. Many people aren’t confident or comfortable with this skill and so might end up losing out financially when there was space for them to gain. Negotiation can be researched, but it takes years of practice to master. Real estate agents know how to get you the best deal possible and maybe even will have experience with the tactics commonly used by the other party’s agent. They might have even done several deals with them in the past. Moreover, in the event that there are several competing parties trying to do the same thing you are, they can recommend the best way to set apart your offer from those of your competitors.
The Extra Profit Or Savings Tends To Outweigh The Commission
Many of those who are hesitant to work with a real estate agent are thinking about the money; they don’t want to pay someone to do something that they could do themselves; they’d rather save the money. It is worth noting that in most cases, a real estate agent earns you more money or saves you more money (depending on whether you’re buying or selling) and the profit they gain for you most of the time outweighs their commission. This means that in the majority of cases, you’re losing money by not going with an agent, not the other way around.
Red Flag Sensing
Another wonderful benefit of working with a real estate agent is the prior experience they bring to the table. An experienced agent will have looked at hundreds of properties in their career, and this means they are quickly able to pick up on subtle cues and red flags you might not notice. This is similar to how university professors know when you alter the margins by one-twelfth of an inch on all sides to force your paper to appear to meet the page count requested. The average person might not notice, but if you’re marking essay after essay and are on your fortieth one, you’re going to notice that the margins are a bit wonky. A real estate agent knows the common tactics people use to disguise problems in homes.
The above reasons should have outlined several of the many benefits associated with working with a real estate agent. If you’re still on the fence, it might be worth chatting with a few agents to get a feel for their personality and approach. Sometimes the hesitation comes from preconceived notions of what it will be like interacting with an agent; you’ll quickly find that there are as many ways to be a real estate agent as there are agents in the world.