hire realtor buying

Do I Really Need a Realtor When Buying a Home?

August 31, 2016 | Buying a Home | By: The Goodhart Group

Many buyers are under the impression they don’t need to hire a Realtor when buying a home. While we have certainly come across many unrepresented buyers in our years of experience, we do not recommend this option. There are countless reasons why you want a seasoned Realtor in your corner when buying a home. Allow us to break it down for you.

  1. Buying a home is a major life decision and also likely the biggest financial investment you will make in your life. You want someone experienced on your team guiding you through the process, which is full of major decisions and a multitude of details.
  2. Realtors also have access to homes you won’t find on Zillow or other real estate sites. There is a “coming soon” status in the MLS (the Realtor listing database) that consumers can’t access. Agents have other ways of finding homes that aren’t on the market but are available for sale. For example, they have access to other agents’ private listings or use their connections with other agents and sellers.
  3. The sales contract to buy or sell a house is a legally binding document. If something goes wrong, you could literally lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. An experienced Realtor will help explain all the ins and outs of the contract documents and ensure you navigate the contingencies correctly.
  4. You don’t pay commission! Commission is paid by the seller to the seller’s agent, also known as the listing agent. The listing agent then offers compensation to the buyer’s agent when they list the home for sale in the MLS (which is the Realtor database that feeds to all of the popular search sites like Zillow and Redfin). So, the commission for BOTH agents is paid by the seller. The only thing the buyer might pay is an administrative fee to your agent’s brokerage. This fees usually ranges from $200-$500 depending on the brokerage and is paid at closing as a part of your closing costs.
  5. Because of how commission is structured (see above), you don’t save any money by buying without a Realtor. You cannot negotiate money back by using the listing agent. This is an urban legend! In fact, many buyers going it alone end up leaving money on the table. If you have the right buyer agent representing you, you can negotiate a much better deal and terms that work in your favor.
  6. The listing agent represents the seller and is working for the seller, not you. You need someone in your corner. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know!
  7. If you are buying new construction, you may be under the impression the builder’s representative will take care of you. Not so! Read our related article for why using a Realtor for a new construction purchase is especially important.

A closing note — not all real estate agents are Realtors! A licensed Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors and legally bound to its Code of Ethics. As Phil Dunphy in Modern Family explains, a real estate agent without the Realtor designation is not bound to any such standards. Bear this in mind as you talk to various agents.

A good Realtor will look out for your best interests, knows how to negotiate, and can walk you through every step of the home buying process.

Your Realtor can help you find an experienced lender so you can secure the needed financing. Realtors also have vast networks of professionals to recommend including home inspectors, contractors, movers, and much more. Click here for more information on how to choose and hire your Realtor.

If The Goodhart Group can help you in your home search, please reach out. Even if you’re not quite ready, we are always happy to talk through the process and your various options.

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  1. I had no idea that commission was only paid by the seller, not the buyer. I can definitely see how this would be an important thing to know when choosing whether or not to work with a real estate agent to buy a home! I am sure that it would still be important to choose an agent who makes you feel comfortable and shares your tastes.

  2. That’s a good point that a home is probably the most major financial decision you’ll make in your life. Homes are often worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, it makes sense that you’d want some guidance from a professional.

  3. I had no idea that realtors had access to homes that you wouldn’t have access to on a real estate site. It makes sense that they would have business connections with other agents who have homes to sell, I Just never thought of it in that context before. I would imagine that they would also be able to help you get the best price on a home that you do like.

  4. I agree that it may be important to hire a real estate agent when making a big decision like buying a home. It’s important that you have help finding potential home options and settling on a fair price for it. There are so many options out there and a lot of processes to follow. A real estate agent can help you navigate the process quickly and effectively.

  5. Yes! Hiring a realtor is very important. Like you mentioned, buying a home is a big and sometimes hard decision, and it’s best to have someone there who’s done it before and knows how the housing market works. Your realtor wants to protect your interests and make sure your happy with your dream home. It’s worth the investment.

  6. I can see how a realtor is a good idea when we buy a house. We’re thinking about buying one soon, and I’d love to get the access that realtors have for homes. Finding the right home is the hardest part!

  7. I like how you talked about how real estate agents have access to homes you can’t find online. My parents are looking into buying a new home and selling their old home. I appreciate the information on why to get a real estate broker.

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