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8 Plus Reasons To Hire A Professional Real Estate Agent
These days, it is so simple to shop for real estate online that you may think you really don’t need a professional real estate agent to buy a new home or sell your existing one. Below are 8+ reasons that will (hopefully) encourage you to reconsider:
#1 - Expertise: “When you hire people who are smarter than you are, you prove that you are smarter than they are.” – Robert Henry Grant. You don't need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. The trick is to find the right person. For the most part, they all cost roughly the same. Why not hire a person with more real estate education and experience than you? Free up your precious time by hiring a professional real estate agent who will do the work for you. You can avoid many costly mistakes by relying on the expertise of a local real estate agent. Here are just a few of the areas in which they are knowledgeable:
* Multiple Listing Service (MLS). If you’re a buyer, your agent will use his/her expertise to find properties that may not “pop up” on standard internet searches. If you’re a seller, your agent will use the MLS to market your property, filling in details that other agents will find useful when representing their clients.
* Mountains of Paperwork. Due to state- and federally-mandated forms, disclosures, and reports, today’s purchase agreements can consist of 10 pages or more. One tiny mistake or omission could land you in court or cost you thousands of dollars. Agents are trained to know exactly what’s required to make all transactions go smoothly while saving you time and money.
* Local Knowledge. If an agent is not intimately familiar with a particular neighborhood, he/she knows where to find the necessary information. They can identify comparable sale sand hand these facts to you, in addition to pointing you in the direction where you can find more data on schools, crime or demographics. For example, you may know that a home down the street was on the market for $350,000, but an agent will know it had upgrades and sold at $285,000 after 65 days on the market and after twice falling out of escrow.
* Accurate Pricing. Contrary to what some people believe, agents do not select prices for sellers or buyers. However, an agent will help to guide clients to make the right choices for themselves. Selling agents will supply all the necessary data and will ask buyers to weigh it and to choose a price. When representing a buyer, an agent will look at market supply and demand, the property conditions, etc., and will devise a negotiation strategy.
* Market Conditions & Data. Real estate agents can disclose market conditions, which will govern your selling or buying process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the average per square foot cost of similar homes, median and average sales prices, average days on market and ratios of list-to-sold prices, among other criteria, will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.
* Knowing What Buyers Want. An experienced real estate agent can help you get your house ready for sale, point out housing-code or zoning violations, and suggest improvements to help your house sell.
#2 - Resources: The internet is virtually flooded with online real estate listing sites, and you can find up-to-date home listings on your own, any time you want. But guess what? Real estate agents have access to even more listings. Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. An agent can help you find those hidden gems. Plus, a good local agent is going to know the search area way better than you ever could. Have your eye on a particular neighborhood, but it's just out of your price range? Your agent is equipped to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood, so he/she can direct you toward a home in your price range that you may have overlooked.
#3 - Negotiating Skills: Top producing agents negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they are well-trained and can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction. It's part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers, delivering buyer's offers to sellers and vice versa. They are professionals who are trained to present their client's case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests. If you’re the seller, the agent must act on your instruction and must inform you about all offers. Your real estate agent will be particularly helpful if the potential buyer is extremely demanding. And it's not just about how much money you end up spending or netting. An agent will help draw up a purchase agreement that allows enough time for inspections, contingencies, and anything else that's crucial to your particular needs.
#4 - Network of Professionals: Real estate agents might not know everything, but they make it their mission to know just about everyone who can possibly help in the process of buying or selling a home. Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, home stagers, interior designers—the list goes on—and they're all in your agent’s network. Use them. Due to legal liability, many agents will hesitate to recommend a certain individual or company over another, but they do know which vendors have a reputation for efficiency, competency and competitive pricing. Agents can, however, give you a list of references with whom they have worked and provide background information to help you make a wise selection. A good real estate agent also regularly talks to other agents. Word-of-mouth is an extremely effective way of finding buyers. Your agent may have a special showing of your home and limit it to other agents. Those agents will see your house with a professional eye and with their own clients in mind.
#5 - Ethics: All Maryland Real Estate licensees are required to abide by the Maryland Code of Ethics which is monitored by the Maryland Real Estate Commission and is required by law. Your agent will be intimately familiar with all rules that serve to ensure ethical treatment of all parties involved in all transactions.
#6 - Multiple Roles: Real estate agents wear a lot of different hats. Sure, they're salespeople, but they actually do a whole lot to earn their commission. They're constantly driving around, checking out listings for you. They spend their own money on marketing your home (if you're selling). They're researching comps to make sure you're getting the best deal. And, of course, they're working for you at nearly all hours of the day and night—whether you need more info on a home or just someone to talk to in order to feel at ease with the offer you just put in. This is the biggest financial (and possibly emotional) decision of your life, and guiding you through it isn't a responsibility real estate agents take lightly.
#7 - Help After Closing: Even the smoothest transactions that close without complications can have issues afterwards. Many questions can pop up that were overlooked in the excitement of closing. Good agents stand by ready to assist. Worthy and honest agents don't leave you in the dust to fend for yourself.
#8 - Long-lasting Relationships: The basis for any agent's success and continued career in real estate is referrals. Few agents would survive if their livelihood was dependent on consistently drumming up new business. This emphasis gives agents strong incentives to make certain clients are happy and satisfied. It also means that an agent who stays in the business will be there for you when you need to hire an agent again. Many will periodically mail market updates to you to keep you informed and to stay in touch.
PLUS: Our agents possess all of the skills described above and are experts in Southern Maryland Real Estate. If you're in the market to buy a new home or sell your current one, call one of our agents today. Browse our Agent Roster here or call me directly at (410) 610-7262 for a recommendation.
Robert is the co-founder and Broker at PAX Real Estate in Prince Frederick, Maryland. He brings with him over 30 years experience building successful companies as an entrepreneur and business owner. W....