When it comes to buying or selling a home, some people contemplate cutting out the middleman and going it alone, rather than hiring a real estate agent to help facilitate the sale. Although it might initially seem appealing to save some money, playing the real estate game without the assistance of an experienced real estate professional could actually result in costing you money and stress along the way. Seasoned real estate agents are experts in their field who know a lot more about the market than most and their advice can mean the difference between making and breaking a deal.
Here are just three of the many qualities that a good real estate agent brings to the table:
• Professionalism. Agents work for brokerages and are licensed professionals. This means that they have a broker to answer to and are bound by law to act in the best interest of their clients. They have access to the tools of the trade – such as The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Database – that is available only to professionals as well as the latest marketing techniques. They also have the benefit of a wide network of other real estate agents, mortgage brokers and attorneys from which to draw information.
• Negotiation. Negotiating can be delicate or tedious between buyers and sellers, but real estate agents have experience in this arena. An agent can play the role of the "bad guy" when it comes to negotiating, avoiding hard feelings between the buyer and seller. Real estate agents are skilled in conveying clients' concerns in a professional manner to ensure happiness for both parties – and ultimately that sale.
• Knowledge. Real estate agents are highly knowledgeable when it comes to important information such as where the best neighborhoods are, what school is being closed or re-built, new developments or subdivisions popping up, and other critical local information. They know what the comparable homes looked like, what they sold for and why. A good agent knows the dirty little secrets and coveted features of different neighborhoods and communities. That agent may just have that "gem" tucked up his or her sleeve that a buyer is looking for.
At the end of the day, hiring a real estate agent is your best bet. As professionals in their field, they've usually been around the block a time or two. Do your research. Ask around for the names of respected agents in your target community. Chances are, a friend or acquaintance has had great success working with an agent and can nudge you in the right direction. After all, why skimp when buying or selling a home? It will likely be one of your largest financial investments and could be the key to your long-term happiness.