Real estate transaction requires proper planning and due diligence. As a seller, you want to sell at the best price to someone with legal funds. Likewise, as a buyer, you want to purchase at the best price and from a seller with a good home maintenance record.

All of these can be overwhelming as they are more challenging than they seem. Combining the real estate transaction with other things, such as your business or a 9-5 job, can become more tedious.

Who is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who represents a buyer or seller during real estate negotiations and transactions. They are usually compensated by a commission, typically a percentage of the home’s purchase price; hence, they must close a deal to get paid.

No national license for real estate agents; the state governments grant it. The requirements vary from one state to another and often require a certain number of education hours.

Role of a real estate agent

Real estate agents who work for the seller are known as listing agents. They advise their clients on how to price the property and prepare for its sale. They may also recommend ways to improve the home’s attractiveness to prospective buyers and increase its value.

According to Reynolds EmpowerHome Team, a firm of Real Estate Agents Washington DC Metro, a listing agent must be able to guarantee their clients the best price for their properties.

Agents working for buyers search listings for available properties that match their client’s price range and preference. They usually examine prices of similar properties in the area and other factors, such as the age of the home, to decide on a fair bid for their clients.

How to decide if you need a real estate agent for your home sales/purchase

If you would like to know whether you must engage the service of a real estate agent to buy or sell a house, the simple answer is no. However, hiring one comes with its benefits.

A National Association of Realtors (NAR) report indicated that 86 percent of buyers and sellers work with an agent.

Selling a home

No law mandates homeowners to use agents to sell their homes. A knowledgeable and dedicated individual can deliver similar services to these individuals, except that agents offer services beyond just getting you a buyer. 

Without a license, you can only list your house for sale. This is called For Sale By Owner (FSBO). To list a property for sale or lease in any U.S. jurisdiction, you must hold a real estate license in the state or territory.

Why you need an agent to sell a home

  • Best offer: Agents have first-hand knowledge of the market. They can help you optimally price your home using the information at their disposal. NAR data shows that homes sold with the help of agents in 2022, on average, fetched $345,000, while those sold without an agent went for $225,000. 
  • Access to MLS: They have access to multiple listing services (MLS), which can help get your property to more prospective buyers. Agents leverage digital marketing to reach more buyers. Over 40 percent of buyers start their home-buying process by checking properties for sale online.
  • Quick sales: Experienced agents can distinguish serious buyers from window shoppers. They also use their understanding of the buyers to stage your home for sale. This increases the chance of getting buyers in record time.  
  • Smooth transaction: An agent can handle Most home sales processes, giving you enough time to handle other things, such as preparing your move.
  • Disclosures: Based on your state and as required by law, disclosure is mandatory. For instance, you may need to disclose a roof leakage, faulty electrical system, or lead paint in your home if you are aware of them. Agents are well-versed in this disclosure and could make the sales process easier for buyers while ensuring they do not violate any law.

Buying a home

It is possible to buy a home yourself without involving an agent. Such a decision is great for people familiar with the neighborhood where they want to get the property or when purchasing from a seller you know and trust. 

However, if the agent’s fee is your main concern, you have nothing to worry about, as the seller, not the buyer, usually pays the fee through commission.

Why you need an agent to buy a home

  • Price haggling: An agent can effectively assess and determine the current market value of a home. With this, they can help haggle the seller’s price and secure a good deal for your budget.
  • Varieties of property options: Agents can access numerous listings and networks of listing agents working for sellers. This offers you multiple options for your budget and preference.
  • Neighborhood research: An agent can help you dig dirt about a neighborhood, which the seller agent is not obliged to tell you.
  • Proper home inspection and assessment: With many years of experience inspecting properties, real estate agents know where to check in a home, including defects homeowners are more likely to conceal.

Review of seller’s disclosure: Agents know what sellers in your state legally must disclose. They will ensure everything is intact so you can have all the facts to negotiate a deal and decide whether to purchase or pass.