Too Hot To Handle? Why Buyers & Sellers Need A Real Estate Agent Now More Than Ever
At the rate that homes flew off the market in 2020, it's understandable that buyers and sellers assume that now is an "easy" time to represent themselves. But the speed at which the market is moving right now is precisely why buyers and sellers need a professional to guide them and make sure they don't get left in the dust. With the number of curveballs 2020 threw us, now is not the time to wing it.
Here's why buyers and sellers need a real estate agent now more than ever.
Why You Need A Buyers Agent In 2021
A buyers agent plays a critical role in protecting the buyer's interest and generally facilitating the entire home buying process. Their services take a lot of stress off the buyer, which is an incredible benefit when you learn just how much is involved in a real estate transaction.
Here's why you need a buyers agent in 2021:
Inventory Is Low - One of the reasons the market is so hot right now is because demand is outpacing supply. A lot of people made career changes, are working remotely, and are able to move away from cities. But a lot of would-be sellers are choosing to stay put and see what happens with the economy and housing market. A buyers agent has leads on off-market and coming-soon properties. They also have relationships with other agents, developers, and lenders with distressed properties. Bottom line: a buyers agent can find properties not listed on Zillow.
You Need A Showing ASAP - With many properties receiving multiple bids within hours of hitting the market, you need to schedule a showing ASAP if you like something. Buyers agents have access to lockboxes and can schedule showings at any time. Unrepresented buyers must request an appointment with the seller/agent and are at the mercy of their schedule.
You Want To Present Your Best Offer - Because many sellers are enjoying receiving multiple offers, you want to put your best offer forward the first time. A buyers agent can guide you about your offer, earnest money, closing date, and any contingencies to include (or not include!) to make your offer stand apart from the others.
Negotiations Are Tough - Buyers agents are skilled at negotiating price, conditions, repairs, closing fees, and other "tough talks" that have to take place between the buyer and seller.
There's A Lot Of Paperwork - A buyers agent or their office staff handles all the paperwork, legalities, and ensures important deadlines are met. Mistakes on paperwork made by unrepresented buyers could result in legal fees or even losing the house. Agents carry personal liability insurance (also called errors and omissions insurance) that protect them. They're also adept at handling all the paperwork involved in a real estate transaction, can execute it quickly, and usually without error.
They Know The Pros - Because the market is moving so quickly, it can be difficult for buyers to get lenders, appraisers, inspectors, contractors, and attorneys to move fast enough to complete due diligence items within the agreed-upon timeline. A buyers agent has a network of professionals to recommend and can help keep them on task.
Why You Need A Sellers Agent In 2021
Likewise, a sellers agent represents the seller, manages and markets the listing, and handles all the legalities from their side. Homeowners often think that a for sale by owner will save them money, but it often ends in headache and failure as only 11% of all homes sold are FSBO.
Here why you need a sellers agent in 2021:
You Get Expert Advice and Professional Services - While the market strongly favors sellers right now, selling your home is still not automatic. Sellers agents use comparables and their expertise to price your home competitively to get you the best deal. They offer advice about preparing and staging, and they schedule and work open houses. They hire professional photographers and have a network of agents to market your home to. These are invaluable services that a seller going it alone doesn't have access to.
To Vet Buyers & Make Showings Convenient - A sellers agent can require lender pre-approval letters to weed out unqualified buyers, nosy neighbors, and dreamers to ensure showings are worthwhile. They will also place a lockbox on your home and field and schedule showing requests on your behalf.
Navigate Multiple Offers - A sellers agent can help you navigate multiple offers and figure out which to accept. Hint: it's not just the highest offer! The most favorable offer may be cash or a conventional loan with a large down payment, no contingency to sell another home, an offer to pay closing costs, or a closing date that works for you. It depends on your priorities during selling.
Negotiations Are Still Tough - Like buyers, sellers benefit from an agent that can have the tough talks and handle negotiations on their behalf.
There's Still A Lot Of Paperwork - Sellers actually have more paperwork to manage than buyers, as they have to sign a listing agreement with the agent and complete a lengthy seller disclosure. Accurately completing and filing paperwork in a timely manner is essential in real estate. Like buyers agents, sellers agents are adept at paperwork and carry liability insurance to protect against costly errors.
You're Not Really Saving On Commission - The main reason most sellers opt for a FSBO is to save the 2.5-3.5% commission they would have to pay a listing agent. But if your buyer is using an agent, you still have to pay their commission, as it is always paid by the seller. However, remember that the commission should be factored into your sales price, which is definitely doable in today's market when prices are skyrocketing. And instead of thinking of the commission as coming out of your proceeds, remember that the buyer is the only one coming to the closing table, so essentially they are paying the commission.
FSBO Bias Is A Thing - Some buyers agents will not show FSBO listings because they won't have a professional colleague to work with. Working with an inexperienced and unrepresented seller might be too much of a hassle for a buyers agent, so you could experience reduced showings, a longer time on the market, and unfavorable offers from agents trying to take advantage of you.
They Keep The Emotions Out - A sellers agent can also help you keep emotions out of the process and treat it like it is: a business transaction. Low-ball offers may be insulting, or you may think repair requests are unreasonable if you've been living in your home and consider it in acceptable condition. A sellers agent fields these communications from the buyer and can prevent you from making knee-jerk decisions based on emotions.
While it may be tempting to go it alone, buyers and sellers agents provide invaluable services, protect your interests, and are even more helpful in today's fast-paced market. Ready to find an agent you'll love?